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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, March 14th (All times Eastern)

Nashville Predators (28-28-10) at Chicago Blackhawks (38-14-14), 8 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Blackhawks will try to shake off a loss in a key divisional battle when they return home to face the Nashville Predators on Friday.

The Blackhawks entered Wednesday's battle at Colorado leading the Avalanche by one point for second place in the Central, but the Avs rode a strong performance from goaltender Semyon Varlamov to leap past Chicago in the standings.

With 90 points, Chicago is still 11 points ahead of Minnesota for the last of the division's three automatic bids to the postseason. The defending Stanley Cup champions also have a chance to regain the second spot on Friday, although the Avs are in action tonight against visiting Anaheim.

Varlamov stopped 37 shots to frustrate the Blackhawks in the 3-2 loss, sending Chicago to its fourth loss in five games against Colorado in 2013-14.

"This is another frustrating loss for our team. Varlamov is a talented goaltender, and we haven't found a way to get pucks past him," said Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews. "We have not matched their intensity and we have much more to show against this team."

Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad scored for the Blackhawks, while Antti Raanta made 26 saves in defeat.

Chicago is entering a home-heavy portion of its schedule as the club will play two straight and six of its next seven in the Windy City. The Blackhawks have a solid 20-5-7 record at the United Center this season.

The Blackhawks and Predators have split the first two of five scheduled meetings this season, but this evening's tilt marks the first encounter in Chicago. The Blackhawks have won seven of eight overall in this series and Nashville has dropped three in a row at the United Center.

Nashville is running out of a time to get into the Western Conference playoff picture, but wins in each of its last two games is a good place to start. Another victory on Friday would give the Predators their first three-game winning streak since Dec. 10-14.

Shea Weber, Craig Smith and Nick Spaling each had one goal and one assist to lead Nashville to a 4-1 in Buffalo on Tuesday. Paul Gaustad potted an empty- netter and Colin Wilson finished with a pair of helpers for the Predators, while Carter Hutton made 24 saves in the win.

The win came one day after Nashville recorded a 4-3 overtime win in Ottawa to begin a three-game road trip. The Preds are just 13-12-6 as the visiting team this season.

"It's a good start to the road trip so far," Weber said. "We've got a challenge in Chicago coming up. They're a very good team and we've got to make sure we keep pushing forward and trying to get on a roll here."

Nashville enters Friday eight points out of a playoff spot in the West. The Predators are in danger of missing the postseason for a second straight spring, something that hasn't happened since the expansion franchise failed to qualify for the playoffs in its first five years of existence from 1999-2003.

03/14 10:48:32 ET

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Local
Final
UNC 66
BUT 74
Final
ECU 73
HAW 75
Half
DUKE 50
FUR 22
 
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CHA
POR
7:00pm Tonight
NCSU
RICH
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
CAR
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
BRK
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GSW
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CHA
POR
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CLE
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LAC
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TOR
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MIN
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HOU
SAC
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OKC
UTA
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SAN
IND
9:00pm Tonight
PHO
DEN
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
MEM
Final
UNC 66
BUT 74
Final
FRES 64
MAR 68
Final
CHAT 61
RMU 46
Final
EMICH 68
ROCH 35
 
Final
MRGST 51
LIB 50
 
Final
HAMP 60
AMER 64
 
Final
BEL 78
DEN 57
Final
UMASS 79
NE 54
Final
JMU 79
SHU 72
 
Final
KNST 84
SAMF 71
 
Final
ECU 73
HAW 75
Final
CHAM 60
MIZZ 74
Final
CCAR 61
LAMON 48
Final
OKLA 75
UCLA 65
 
Final
ELON 65
UNF 72
 
2nd
UWMIL 62
ORU 64
 
2nd
WCU 52
CHIST 42
 
Half
DUKE 50
FUR 22
 
1st
BYU 35
PURD 40
 
6:00pm Tonight
EVAN
USF
7:00pm Tonight
COL
GTDNS
 
7:00pm Tonight
VERM
BRY
 
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GRAM
 
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TRINBAPT
 
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RAD
 
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LMU
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SCAR
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SD
WAYNEST
 
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UWGB
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IOWA
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ORST
AUB
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MONT
CARROLLMT
 
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SUTAH
EKENT
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NMST
FAM
 
9:00pm Tonight
WYO
STET
 
9:05pm Tonight
EWASH
NKENTUCKY
 
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IDST
WLVRN
 
9:30pm Tonight
GEOR
UF
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UGA
9:30pm Tonight
NIOWA
NW
10:00pm Tonight
SDST
ARZ
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
CPSL
10:00pm Tonight
UCD
UTST
10:30pm Tonight
NDAK
ALAST
11:00pm Tonight
CSNO
PORST
11:30pm Tonight
AKAN
PAC
11:30pm Tonight
OKST
TULSA
7:00pm Tonight
NYI
WAS
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
WIN
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
CAR
7:30pm Tonight
TAM
NYR
7:30pm Tonight
DET
PHI
7:30pm Tonight
PIT
TOR
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
LOS
9:00pm Tonight
COL
CHI
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
CAL