Blackhawks at Predators
The Chicago Blackhawks find themselves in an unfamiliar position as they continue their four-game road trip Tuesday against the Central Division-rival Nashville Predators. Chicago is 13 points out of first place in the Central after winning the division last season and four back in the Western Conference wild-card race after qualifying for the playoffs each of the last nine campaigns – winning three Stanley Cups along the way.
The Blackhawks began their trek Thursday with a 5-1 triumph at Detroit, which followed a 1-4-1 homestand that ended with four straight setbacks. Nashville is in a much more enviable spot in the standings as it trails first-place Winnipeg by one point in the Central with three games in hand. The Predators extended their point streak to eight games (6-0-2) with a 3-0 victory at New Jersey on Thursday behind a 27-save performance by Pekka Rinne, who has won five straight starts. Fellow All-Star P.K. Subban leads Nashville with 37 points and carries a three-game goal-scoring streak into the matchup with Chicago after notching a tally and an assist against the Devils.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, TVA, NBCS Chicago
ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (23-19-7): Alex DeBrincat ended his four-game point drought in a big way Thursday, registering a hat trick and adding an assist for his second career four-point performance. The 20-year-old right wing, who is second on the team with 17 goals, is the first Blackhawk to record multiple hat tricks in his rookie season since Steve Larmer in 1982-83. Patrick Kane, who leads the team in goals (20) and assists (29), unleashed a game-high four shots in the Central’s 5-2 loss to the Pacific Division during All-Star Weekend but finished with a minus-2 rating and was kept off the scoresheet.
ABOUT THE PREDATORS (29-11-7): Rinne and Subban shined in Sunday’s All-Star event as the goaltender stopped all four shots he faced during one period in the Central’s loss to the Pacific while the defenseman scored one of his squad’s two goals. Subban has landed on the scoresheet in six of his last seven games for Nashville, collecting three tallies and five assists in that span. Kyle Turris has recorded one assist over his last six contests and is one shy of 200 for his career.
1. Blackhawks C Artem Anisimov has recorded one assist over his last six games but is two points away from 300 for his career.
2. Nashville C Nick Bonino’s next point will be his 200th in the NHL while RW Miikka Salomaki’s next game will be his 100th.
3. Chicago LW Anthony Duclair registered a goal and two assists Thursday after notching one assist in his first five games after being acquired from Arizona.