The Nashville Predators snapped a lengthy losing streak Monday night.
On Wednesday, the Chicago Blackhawks will try to follow suit at their Central Division rival’s expense.
Chicago hosts Nashville having lost seven straight and getting outscored 31-7 over that span, including two shutouts.
But wait, there’s more malaise beyond merely this month. Chicago is 1-14-1 over its past 16 games and 3-17-4 in the past 24.
“There’s this weight on our shoulders where when things go wrong, they go really wrong,” Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. “It keeps snowballing in the wrong direction for us. We’re mentally having a difficult time recovering as a team.”
Nashville could attest for much of December, losing six straight games before breaking through Monday with a 4-3 overtime victory against the visiting Edmonton Oilers.
Back in the lineup following a four-game absence with an upper-body injury, Alexandre Carrier scored the game-winning goal for the Predators at 2:12 of OT.
“We came out and played a really solid hockey game. We deserved to win the game. We did it,” Nashville coach John Hynes said. “I think that’s the most important thing when you come out of tough stretches, is that sometimes you’re building your game and not getting results. When you do wind up getting results, it’s important because … it’s not like you hung on and found a way to win. We came out and played a real solid game.”
Another bright spot for the Predators? Matt Duchene scored on the man-advantage midway through the second period, marking the club’s first power-play goal in seven games. Cody Glass notched one of his two assists on the goal.
“I would take a power-play goal any way we could get it, just for those guys,” Hynes said. “We’re working so hard to try to find solutions. We know it needs to be better, and it can be better.”
Chicago scored its lone goal Sunday at even strength. Philipp Kurashev’s tally trimmed the deficit against the visiting New York Rangers to 3-1 early in the second period, but the Rangers closed the game with four unanswered goals.
Blackhawks defenseman Jarred Tinordi suffered a facial fracture after taking a puck to the face during the second period. The Blackhawks have placed him on injured reserve.
Sunday was the 1,000th game together for Chicago forwards Patrick Kane and Toews. After first sharing the ice on Oct. 10, 2007, the duo enters Wednesday with 2,071 career points.
“(Jonathan) was a lot more serious in his first few years,” Kane said. “He still has that serious element to him, but I don’t think he takes himself as serious now. He’s able to laugh at himself a little bit.”
Of his longtime teammate and fellow franchise icon, Toews said: “There were moments where I was envious of his confidence, and I wasn’t sure where he got it from sometimes. But now he’s, believe it or not, just down to earth. He’s focused on the game and just very real and very humble with who he is.”
–Field Level Media