Central Division: Nashville Predators Host Chicago Blackhawks, Kings Visit Wings

The Nashville Predators face off against their Central Division rival, the league-leading Chicago Blackhawks, tonight at Bridgestone Arena. Meanwhile the Red Wings host Los Angeles and the Blue Jackets take on the Oilers.

Around The Central Division: February 10, 2013

YESTERDAY

Nashville Predators forward Martin Erat is in there somewhere

Erat was kicked twice and punched, all after he was down – and nobody was penalized. (PHOTO: Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports)

Minnesota Wild 2, Nashville Predators 1 (OT)

Neither team really showed much interest in playing skilled hockey last night, probably because the Wild were focusing on hitting anything that moved first and playing the puck second. That meant a 1-1 game after three periods and another point for Nashville. They lost their chance to win the game fairly in overtime thanks to a shoddy implementation of an even shoddier rule. With Paul Gaustad in the box and only three defenders on the ice to kill a penalty, Devin Setoguchi scored the game-winner.

Chris Mason played great but took the loss, Niklas Backstrom looked good in the third period for the win. I’ve never cared too much about Minnesota one way or the other but between their owner, his ridiculous spending, and their goony play against the Preds I’m starting to hate them.

Nikolai Khabibulin paid his first visit to the Central Division this season

Nikolai Khabibulin has been playing almost as long as the Central Division has existed. (PHOTO: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)

Detroit Red Wings 2, Edmonton Oilers 1

The start in net for Edmonton went to 40-year-old Nikolai Khabibulin, who played his first NHL game 19 years ago. He was perfect at even strength but gave up two power-play goals to Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall. The Oilers’ only tally also came on the power play, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Wings.

Jimmy Howard earned the win, Khabibulin took the loss.

Anaheim Ducks 6, St. Louis Blues 5 (SO)

There have been some crazy games in the Central Division this year, and the St. Louis Blues have been involved in several of them, but this one might have to top the list. The Blues led 3-1 after the first period but gave up three goals in the second. Anaheim pulled ahead twice only to see St. Louis come back, and after five scoreless overtime minutes they headed to a six-round shootout that featured more goals than saves:

Viktor Fasth got the win, Brian Elliott took the loss.

Transactions

Columbus Blue Jackets assigned D David Savard to Springfield (AHL).

Standings

NHL Central Division standings 2-10-13

Leaders

Points: Patrick Kane (CHI) – 18
Goals:
Patrick Kane (CHI) -8
Assists:
Kevin Shattenkirk (STL), Henrik Zetterberg (DET) – 11
PIM:
Jared Boll (CBJ) – 46
Wins:
Corey Crawford (CHI) – 6
GAA:
Pekka Rinne (NSH) – 1.81
SV%:
Pekka Rinne (NSH) – .933

TODAY

Central Division rivals Chicago and Nashville

Pekka Rinne will be the focus again for the Preds tonight. (PHOTO: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports)

Chicago Blackhawks (9-0-2) at Nashville Predators (5-2-4)
7:00 p.m. CST
FOX Sports Tennessee

Top offense in the Western Conference meets top defense in the National Hockey League in this game tonight at Bridgestone Arena. Pekka Rinne, unbeaten in four straight games, will face off against the other top goalie in the Central Division, Corey Crawford. Nashville is finishing out a back-to-back, while the Blackhawks have had two days of rest. My preview is here.

The Red Wings are currently third in the Central Division

Guess we’ll be rooting for the Kings today. (PHOTO: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

Los Angeles Kings (3-4-2) at Detroit Red Wings (6-4-1)
11:30 a.m. CST
NBC

The producers at NBC probably had some easy storylines in mind when they picked this game before the season started. Stanley Cup champs against perennial Stanley Cup contender! It’s gold, Jerry – gold! Instead it’s one team that looks nothing like the steamroller that won the Cup last season against an injury-riddled squad that’s only just beginning to adjust to life without one of the greatest defensemen in NHL history.

Octopus Thrower and Rink Royalty look ahead.

Central Division bottom-feeders, the Columbus Blue Jackets

There’s no more Rick Nash in Columbus, but this will probably still happen once or twice tonight. (PHOTO: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports)

Edmonton Oilers (4-4-3) at Columbus Blue Jackets (3-6-2)
5:00 p.m. CST

The Oilers continue their road trip through the Central Division with a match in Columbus. On paper this is one of those games that looks like it should be an easy win for Edmonton, but the Blue Jackets have proven to be unexpectedly tenacious against better teams this season. They’re capable of stealing one if the Oilers look past this game.

Topics: Central Division, Nashville Predators

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