Chicago (3-5-0) at Nashville (7-0-0)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Nashville, TN
Temp: 60° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EDT Tue Oct 25, 2005
  • TV: CSCH
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Few likely thought that three weeks into the new season, the Nashville Predators would be the league’s lone unbeaten team.

Nashville will try to extend the best season-opening start by any team in a decade when the Chicago Blackhawks visit the Gaylord Entertainment Center.

The Predators won their seventh straight game with a 2-1 victory Saturday over the San Jose Sharks. Nashville is the first team to start a season with seven consecutive victories since the 1994-95 Pittsburgh Penguins.

“At 7-0 it is a great feeling,” said Scott Hartnell, who had the game-winning goal against the Sharks. “The guys are playing with a lot of confidence. Everyone is doing their best to keep the streak alive.”

The 1993-94 Toronto Maple Leafs opened that season with a league-record 10 wins in a row.

Nashville’s Paul Kariya has three goals and seven assists during a seven-game points streak against Chicago. Overall, he has 18 goals and 22 assists in 37 career games versus the Blackhawks.

Goaltender Tomas Vokoun—fast establishing himself as one of the league’s rising stars in net—has won his last two starts against Chicago, stopping 61 of 64 shots.

Chicago avoided its third straight loss with a 4-2 win Sunday over the Minnesota Wild. Rookie Rene Bourque had a goal and two assists in the win.

Goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin made just 15 saves in the win. The Blackhawks signed Khabibulin to a lucrative contract after the lockout, hoping he would be like the player that backstopped the Tampa Bay Lightning to their first Stanley Cup championship in 2003-04.

He has struggled though, winning just three games and recording an .852 save percentage so far.

Khabibulin is 4-3-1 with a 2.12 goals-against average and .911 save percentage in his career against the Predators.

STANDINGS (through Oct. 22): Blackhawks - 6 points, 3rd place, 10 PB, Central Division. Predators - 14 points, 2nd place, 2 PB Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Blackhawks - Pavel Vorobiev, 5 goals; Tyler Arnason and Brent Seabrook, 6 assists; Arnason and Vorobiev, 9 points; Matthew Barnaby, 17 PIM. Predators - Steve Sullivan, 4 goals, 6 assists and 10 points; Kariya, 16 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 22): Blackhawks - Power play: 16.7 percent (9 for 54), 17th in NHL. Penalty killing: 79.7 percent (55 for 69), 21st (tied). Predators - Power play: 19.5 percent (8 for 41), 10th. Penalty killing: 87.5 percent (35 for 40), 5th.

GOALTENDERS: Blackhawks - Khabibulin (3-4-0, 3.57 GAA); Craig Anderson (0-1-0, 4.14). Predators - Vokoun (6-0-0, 1.95); Chris Mason (1-0-0, 3.69).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Blackhawks, 3-2-1.

LAST MEETING: April 1, 2004; Predators, 3-1. At Chicago, former Blackhawk Sullivan and Adam Hall each scored for Nashville and Vokoun made 34 saves.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blackhawks - 1-3-0 on the road; Predators - 4-0-0 at home.

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