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Gameday: Nashville Predators at Chicago Blackhawks, 4/7/13

NASHVILLE PREDATORS

at CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS

April 7th, 2013
Bridgestone Arena
Nashville, Tennessee
6:00 p.m. CDT
TV: FOX Sports Tennessee

That’s not double vision. The Nashville Predators really are playing the Chicago Blackhawks again. Chicago scored five minutes into yesterday’s game and held on for another 55 to win 1-0.

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS

(28-5-4, 1st in Central)

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Detroit Red Wings

With Ray Emery having played yesterday, Corey Crawford should get today’s start. (PHOTO: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)

Key players

Corey Crawford (15-4-4, 2.01 GAA, .922 SV%) should get the start in net today since Ray Emery played yesterday. He’s been in net for 89 percent of the Blackhawks’ losses this season but still wins two out of every three starts. Goaltending has essentially been all the Blackhawks have needed to beat Nashville this season, given that two of their three wins over the Preds have come by way of shutout.

Others to watch

Jonathan Toews (18G-20A), Patrick Kane (19G-25A), et alia.

NASHVILLE PREDATORS

(15-16-8, 5th in Central)

After opening the season 4-1-2 on the road after a grueling seven-game trip, the Preds have tumbled to a 5-11-4 overall road record.

Key players

NHL: Nashville Predators at Chicago Blackhawks

Shea Weber says the playoffs aren’t slipping away. That’s because playoffs can’t slip away when they’re already out of reach. (PHOTO: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports)

Shea Weber (7G-14A) said after yesterday’s game that the playoffs aren’t slipping away. The coaching staff should have a doctor check him out immediately and make sure there aren’t any signs of a concussion because that quote and reality have a correlation of nearly zero.

Pekka Rinne (14-11-7, 2.31, .914) played an essentially flawless game yesterday, only giving up a goal when Jonathon Blum hung him out to dry on a 2-on-1 Chicago breakaway. A team that understood its situation would rest Pekka today, but the Preds said just yesterday that they plan to ride him into the sunset this season. We should all keep our fingers crossed that he makes it through that stretch in good health.

Others to watch

Everyone. There’s not a player on the team who couldn’t stand to step up a little bit taller, hit a little harder, and fire passes just a little more crisply.

Bottom line

The Nashville Predators have scored exactly one goal since Martin Erat was traded to the Washington Capitals. Aside from Pekka Rinne they simply don’t impress. They’ve dug themselves so deep a hole that even a win today would essentially mean nothing to their playoff chances. The only good thing about today’s game is that, like this nightmare season, it will eventually end.

Topics: Chicago Blackhawks, Nashville Predators

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