The Nashville Predators (17-9-6) will go against the odds when they head into the United Center in Chicago for the season's third meeting with the Chicago Blackhawks (18-14-3).
The Predators have won both games against the current Stanley Cup Champion Hawks after losing to them in six games in the opening round of last year's playoff series.
In the Predators second game of the year, the team went into the United Center with Anders Lindback making his first start and stole a 3-2 win from the Hawks when Joel Ward scored the tiebreaker on the power play with 27 seconds remaining in the game.
On November 13, the Predators beat the Hawks in Nashville 4-3 when Cal O'Reilly scored the only goal in the shootout. Pekka Rinne was the winning goalie and perfect in the shootout.
Tonight's game will be a test for the Predators to put Saturday's 6-1 loss to the Kings behind them and to be ready to compete in a hostile environment. Patric Hornqvist is slated to return after missing three games with an upper body injury. David Legwand remains sidelined through at least Sunday, per Barry Trotz.
Pekka Rinne (8-7-4, 2.38, .918) came off of injured reserve yesterday. It is unclear who will get the start tonight but the team has indicated that Rinne will play one of the two back to back games. My bet is that Anders Lindback (9-2-2, 2.27, .925) will start against the Hawks and that Rinne will go against Ottawa on Thursday night.
Corey Crawford (10-6-1, 2.39, .914) has established himself in goal for the Blackhawks and should be in net for them tonight.
After the game tonight, the team will leave immediately and fly home for Thursday's rare Nashville meeting with the Ottawa Senators at the Bridgestone Arena.
Other Previews come from Amanda DiPaolo, Chris Burton, The Tennessean, and Predators.com.
From the Windy City comes news from Second City Hockey, The Sun Times, The Daily Herald, and the Chicago Tribune.
I was a guest host on Ryan Porth's RLD Hockey Radio show and it was one of his bests. The guests were Carolina and Versus broadcaster John Forslund and Sarah Baicker from CSN/Philly.
John had a lot to say about the Hurricanes recent run, the city of Raleigh as a hockey market, and the upcoming All-Star game next month. Sarah discussed the Flyers having the best record in hockey, the team make-up, and all things Chris Pronger, including the injury and the puck controversy during last year's playoffs.
Both guests were complementary of the Predators and discussed how they enjoy their visits to Nashville. Click on the following player to listen.
In Pred Nation...
The is a great story by J R Lind on the April Fools in December Tweet yesterday that got all of Pred Nation in an uproar when it was thought that Jim Balsille was headed to Nashville. Puck Daddy also got in on the fun with his analysis. To whoever tweeted, it worked well for a while and made for an interesting hour or so.
Chris Burton takes a look at some of last year's Predators and how they are doing this year. It's interesting that folks are talking about the "good year" that Jason Arnott is having in New Jersey and his numbers are way off of last years totals.
Josh Cooper looks at the back to back games the Preds play starting tonight.
Paul McCann has a round up of topics and admits that he fell for the Jim Balsillie scare too.
Robbie at Hockey Night in Nashville looks at the value of Wade Belak.
The Milwaukee Admirals beat the Chicago Wolves 3-2 in a shootout lat night in Chicago. Mark Dekanich was back in goal for the Ads and stopped 19 of 21 shots and three of four in the shootout.
Chet Pickard was sent back to Cincinnati with Mark Dekanich's return. Also from Cincinnati comes the Cyclones affiliate report.
Here is the latest from NASA on available launch windows for the Space Shuttle in February when Pekka's jersey will finally get a ride.
Around the NHL...
The NHL released the musical performers for the Winter Classic. The list is underwhelming to say the least. It doesn't get much better than last year's Dropkick Murphys visit.
Ryan Porth takes a look at the South East Division which has become quite competitive with the Caps recent slide. Ryan will also start a new series today called "Road to The Winter Classic." Check his site daily for updates.
GQ has a great story on Brian and Brendan Burke. This is long but really well written. If you are a parent and this doesn't draw you into tears then you need to check your pulse. Check it out.
Matt Reitz talks about the King's Difference Makers at The Fourth Period and manages to include a Dwight Schrute reference in the process.
It is somewhat surprising that Pavel Datsyuk was named the best Russian player by The Hockey News. Alexander Ovechkin's stock continues to fall.
Odds and Ends...
I'm really impressed with my Droid X after seeing these eclipse photos taken by someone else with their Droid and a telescope.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass