Chicago (7-3-1) at Nashville (4-6-1)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Nashville, TN
Temp: 42° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EDT Thu Oct 29, 2009
Preview | Box Score | Recap

After a rough start two weeks ago, Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Cristobal Huet(notes) was looking for a boost. The Nashville Predators might have provided him just that.

Huet tries for his third straight victory both overall and against the Predators when the Blackhawks visit the Sommet Center on Thursday night.

After Huet struggled in a 4-3 loss to Dallas on Oct. 17, Chicago coach Joel Quenneville sat the netminder in the Blackhawks’ next contest - a 3-2 loss to Vancouver. Huet returned last Saturday, and made 27 saves in a 2-0 home win over Nashville, his first shutout of the season.

Huet then stopped 20 shots in Chicago’s 3-1 victory over Minnesota on Monday, improving to 4-2-1 with a 2.49 goals-against average.

“It was a good time for me to regroup and come back sharp and motivated to help the team,” Huet said of the time off between starts.

Huet’s most recent wins have come against two of the lowest scoring teams in the NHL, but his teammates remain supportive of their No. 1 goaltender.

“We’re pretty confident in him,” forward Andrew Ladd(notes) told the Blackhawks’ official Web site.

Against Nashville, that confidence is well-founded. Huet has given up just one Martin Erat(notes) goal on 40 shots in two victories over the Predators this season, including a 3-1 win in Nashville on Oct. 15.

Patrick Kane(notes), who has four goals and 12 assists in 16 career games against the Predators, snapped a five-game goal-scoring drought Monday, when he tallied his fourth goal of the season and the 50th of his career.

The Central Division-leading Blackhawks (7-3-1) should have defenseman Brent Seabrook(notes) back after he missed the last two games with concussion-like symptoms. He had two assists at Nashville earlier this month.

Captain Jonathan Toews(notes), however, is expected to miss a third straight contest with concussion-like symptoms of his own.

Though the Predators (4-6-1) have displayed little offense against the Blackhawks, they beat the Wild 4-3 on Wednesday to conclude a 2-2-1 road trip.

“That’s what we need, guys playing with confidence,” said defenseman Shea Weber(notes), who had a goal with two assists. “Hopefully we’ll keep rolling and get some momentum.”

Steve Sullivan(notes) had two assists and Jerred Smithson(notes) scored the short-handed winner midway through the third period for Nashville, which more than doubled its average of 1.9 goals per game.

Weber has three goals and two assists in his last three games overall, but no goals and one assist in his last four against the Blackhawks.

Pekka Rinne(notes) could be back in net after making 12 saves Wednesday in relief of Dan Ellis(notes) to improve to 2-3-0. Rinne has lost his last three starts against the Blackhawks, though, falling to 3-4-0 with a 2.47 GAA lifetime versus Chicago.

Ellis, meanwhile, was removed from a game for the second time in seven starts this season after allowing all three Minnesota goals on 10 shots. He gave up three on three shots in seven minutes of a 6-0 loss at Dallas on Oct. 14.

Ellis is 2-3-1 on the season, and owns the same record with a 2.37 GAA against the Blackhawks.

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Thursday, Oct 29