NBCSN’s coverage of the 2019-20 NHL season continues with Thursday’s matchup between the Nashville Predators and Chicago Blackhawks. Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.
Nashville enters this game having lost five of its last six games (1-4-1) and directly off a 6-2 loss to Boston on Tuesday, a day after the Predators fired head coach Peter Laviolette. Pekka Rinne allowed five goals on 35 shots against the Bruins in what was John Hynes’ debut as Nashville head coach after the Devils fired him earlier this season.
No team in the Western Conference has a longer playoff appearance streak than Nashville, a distinction Chicago recently held when they made nine straight postseasons from 2008-09 to 2016-17 – a run that included three Stanley Cup wins (2010, 2013, 2015). Chicago now could be headed towards a third straight season missing the playoffs.
Nashville’s current playoff streak started in Laviolette’s first season at the helm after the Predators did not renew Barry Trotz’s contract after the 2013-14 season.
Despite leading Nashville to the playoffs in each of his first five seasons, the sluggish start to the 2019-20 season was enough for the Predators to move on from their second-ever head coach and bring in Hynes, whose head coaching experience consists of leading the Devils for 4-plus seasons (2015-16 to 2019-20) before being fired on December 3rd after New Jersey lost 17 of its first 26 games.
Chicago hit a hot streak to end 2019 with wins in five of its final six games (5-1-0), but has since lost two of three (1-2-0) in the new year, including its most recent game, a 2-1 loss to Calgary on Tuesday.
After setting a career-high with 110 points last season, Patrick Kane has not slowed down. Kane leads Chicago in every major offensive category this season (24G-31A—55PTS), and is on pace for 102 points. He has almost twice as many goals as any other Blackhawk and 24 points more than any other teammate. Kane brings a four-game point streak into this one, with four goals and eight points during this stretch. He is also averaging 21:20 time on ice/game, 2nd-most on Chicago behind Duncan Keith.
WHAT: Nashville Predators at Chicago Blackhawks
WHERE: United Center
WHEN: Thursday, Jan. 9, 7:30 p.m. ET
LIVE STREAM: You can watch the Predators-Blackhawks stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.
Starting goalie: Pekka Rinne
Starting goalie: Corey Crawford
Brendan Burke and Pierre McGuire will call the action from United Center in Chicago. Paul Burmeister will anchor Thursday night’s studio coverage with Keith Jones and Mike Johnson.