Predators-Blackhawks Preview

The Associated Press

A banged up Jonathan Toews could not help the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Nashville Predators over the weekend.

Their All-Star captain won't have the chance to help his team avenge that defeat in their next contest.

Without Toews, the Blackhawks look to bounce back from that loss to the Predators while trying for a season-high sixth straight home victory Tuesday night against their Central Division foe.

With forward Patrick Sharp out since Jan. 8 with an upper-body injury, Chicago (29-14-6) won't have Toews because of an upper-body injury for their final contest before this weekend's All-Star game in Ottawa. Among the NHL leaders with 27 goals, Toews left Saturday's 5-2 loss at Nashville in the second period.

Toews actually could have been injured a night earlier when he was slashed on the arm in Chicago's 3-1 home win over Florida.

"We've got some time off and some extra days there. Hopefully he can progress," coach Joel Quenneville told the Blackhawks' official website. "Time is in our favor with the whole week off. There's no good time to get injured, but it's all part of the season. Everybody deals with it."

Fighting for positioning in the highly competitive Central, the Blackhawks can certainly use Toews, who had five goals and four assists in the six previous games prior to Saturday's defeat.

"You miss his leadership and importance to our team," Quenneville said. "Guys can add something to the leadership group when you're missing your captain. You find out more about your team.

"We're looking at (Tuesday's) game and its importance. It doesn't have to be pretty - it can be more workmanlike."

Marian Hossa certainly has the potential to pick up the slack after totaling three goals and seven assists in the last eight games. He had both goals Saturday, giving him two with three assists while Chicago has split the two previous meetings with the Predators in 2011-12.

Nashville (29-16-4) has won three straight and 11 of 13, but will be tested by a Chicago team looking to win six in a row at home for the second consecutive season. The Blackhawks have outscored opponents 23-10 in the last five at the United Center.

The Blackhawks have scored 15 goals during a three-game home winning streak over the Predators.

Patrick Kane had two goals with an assist and Hossa added three assists in a 5-4 overtime home victory over the Predators on Oct. 31. Corey Crawford made 24 saves for Chicago in that contest, and will be in net after he was pulled for giving up four goals on 17 shots Saturday.

Crawford has a 2.34 goals-against average during a three-game home winning streak.

Patric Hornqvist, who had a goal in Nashville's 4-1 win over Columbus on Monday, has three with an assist versus Chicago this season.

Mike Fisher scored twice Monday to become the eighth Nashville player with at least 10 goals. The Predators have scored at least three in each of their last nine victories over the last 11 contests.

"Hopefully we can keep this momentum going against Chicago," netminder Pekka Rinne told the Predators' official website.

Rinne, who made 25 saves Monday, has allowed 10 goals on 252 shots during his franchise-record eight-game winning streak. Though he made 20 saves Saturday, Rinne has yielded five goals in each of his last two starts, including the postseason, at Chicago.