With the season winding to an end, the Flames head into Nashville tonight to face the Preds, looking for a season-high fourth straight win. The Predators on the other hand have struggled down the stretch, going 1-7-2 in their last ten, and currently sit in 14th place in the Western Conference, just two points ahead of the Colorado Avalanche.
Friday night's game was not the Blackhawks' best - they coughed up 4 goals against the offensively-challenged Nashville (29th in league - average 2.27 goals/game). Chicago is on their way to their first Presidents' Trophy since 1991, and the Predators have already been eliminated.
Five of Chicago's games have come against the Predators this season, and the Blackhawks swept the Nashville series, including two shutouts against them.
At the end of the night, it was a familiar scenario: Marian Hossa putting in the overtime winner to give the Blackhawks a 5-4 win, making long-time fans remember a certain first-round game vs the Preds back in 2010.
Chicago had shut out Nashville on home ice on Saturday; the Predators came to the United Center on Sunday hoping to return the favor.
The Blackhawks took Sunday's game 5-3 in regulation, and in doing so, also clinched the first berth in the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs. They continue to lead the league with 62 points.
Sunday's match was a low-penalty game; both teams are well aware of the other's ability to seize on mistakes and make opponents pay. The Predators took a too-many-men penalty in the first with a bad line change; and Andrew Shaw collected an unsportsmanlike conduct in the second.
The story of the night was the strong play of Chicago...
The league leading Chicago Blackhawks (27-5-4) visit their Central Division rival Nashville Predators (15-15-8) in the front end of a home and home series today at 2pm CST.
Nashville, winners in just one of their previous five, are four points out of the
final playoff spot in the West with just ten games remaining and will likely end the season on the outside looking in. While four points in ten games is certainly not an insurmountable deficit, the shortened season's intraconference schedule makes it extremely probable that the Predators will only be playing spoiler down the stretch this year.
The Blackhawks earned a win in the shootout Monday, and in the process, gave a point to Nashville. The Predators now sit just two points out of a playoff berth with 12 games remaining in their regular season schedule - three more of which will be against Chicago.
During the first and second periods, Chicago dominated most of the play, outshooting Nashville 27-11.
It was reflected on the score sheet as well. Brandon Saad put in the Blackhawks on the board with just 12 seconds left in the first period. Patrick Kane made it 2-0 with 7:50 left in the second.
In the third, however, the Blackhawks did what they've done a few too many times lately: instead of putt...
The Flames will look to end their 7-game winless streak (0-6-1) on the road when they head into Nashville to visit the struggling Predators. This is the second meeting between the clubs in less than a week after the Flames had a convincing 6-3 win over the Preds last Friday night at the Saddledome.
The Flames will look for their sixth straight win at the Dome tonight when they host the Nashville Predators. The Flames are coming off a huge third period against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday that saw them score three goals on their way to a 5-2 victory. The Preds come into town for the second game of a back-to-back after losing 7-4 to the Canucks last night in Vancouver.
When considering the game in Nashville tonight, it might have seemed a coin toss who would win. The Blackhawks were on the final game of a six-game road trip that covered 5,300 miles since January 29th. The team would be headed home to Chicago after the game, and you have to think that weighed on their minds.
In the meantime, Nashville shut out the defending Stanley Cup champs 3-0 on Thursday night and then played a tough game in Minnesota on Saturday night, where the Wild beat them 2-1 in overtime.
The team that looked more fatigued on the ice on Sunday night? The Predators.
By the end of the first period, the game remained scoreless, although the Blackha...