Blackhawks aim to continue resurgence in Nashville
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- Kuemper, Coyotes send Vegas to 1st loss
After snapping a four-game losing streak, the Chicago Blackhawks are feeling much better as they head south to visit the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night.
"It helps the mood, helps the energy," Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton said to reporters after his team's 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday. "Guys can be happy on the plane."
Nobody probably is happier than Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat, who combined to contribute six points against Los Angeles. The young forwards first teamed up with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League in 2014-15, and they recently reunited as wingers on the same line with veteran center Ryan Carpenter between them.
Strome had two goals and an assist Sunday while DeBrincat had one goal and two assists.
Both players said their friendship off the ice helped strengthen their chemistry on the ice.
"We've played together for a long time here and know where each other is at," DeBrincat said. "We know the tendencies. We've been working on it for a while, and some games it just clicks like that."
Nashville hopes to put an end to Chicago's good feelings. The Predators have won three games in a row, including a 3-2 decision at Tampa Bay in overtime Saturday evening.
Ryan Ellis had the game-winning goal vs. the Lightning and will try to build on that success against Chicago.
"He's been playing great," teammate Roman Josi said of Ellis. "Obviously, the goal was a huge one (Saturday), but other things that maybe people don't see, the little plays he makes back there, the way he creates space for me (are big), too. He's unbelievable. I love playing with him."
Josi and Ellis are tied for the team lead with 13 points through their first 11 games. Josi has five goals and eight assists, and Ellis has two goals and 11 assists.
Matt Duchene is next on the Nashville score sheet with 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in 10 games.
For the Blackhawks, Patrick Kane leads the way with nine points (three goals, six assists) in 10 contests. DeBrincat and Strome are tied for second with seven points apiece after the Sunday barrage.
An interesting decision looms for Colliton, who made veteran defenseman Brent Seabrook a healthy scratch for only the second time in his career against the Kings. Colliton downplayed the move but did not commit to putting Seabrook, 34, back in the lineup against the Predators.
Nashville's options at goaltender include veteran Pekka Rinne (6-0-1, 1.98 goals-against average) and backup Juuse Saros (1-3-0, 3.99 GAA). Saros made 28 saves on 30 shot attempts in the Predators' latest win, his first victory in six games -- regular season and postseason -- dating back to March.
Chicago could start either Corey Crawford (1-4-0, 3.67 GAA) or Robin Lehner (2-1-2, 2.15 GAA) in net. Lehner started against the Kings and made 38 saves en route to the victory.
The Predators are 5-1-1 on home ice this season. The Blackhawks are 0-2-0 on the road.
--Field Level Media
Updated October 28, 2019