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Powerful Blackhawks end road trip in Nashville

12:15 PM, Feb 10, 2013   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - The Chicago Blackhawks lead the league in points despite playing only two of their 11 games so far on home ice.

On Sunday, the Blackhawks will try to become the first NHL team to reach 10 wins this season when they visit the Nashville Predators for a battle at Bridgestone Arena.

Chicago has recorded at least a point in every game this season, compiling a 9-0-2 record overall and a 7-0-2 mark on the road. Sunday's test in Music City is the final stop on a six-game road trip before the Blackhawks open a seven- game homestand Tuesday night against Anaheim.

The Blackhawks' Patrick Kane had two goals and an assist to help his team to its most recent victory, a 6-2 thrashing of the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday. Kane has eight goals and 18 points in 11 games this season and is riding a five-game point streak.

Jonathan Toews, Viktor Stalberg and Bryan Bickell each posted a goal and an assist while Patrick Sharp added three assists for the Blackhawks, who have won three straight since beginning this road trip with consecutive shootout losses in Minnesota and Vancouver.

Ray Emery made 22 stops in Thursday's victory.

"The guys played the right way and we had real good purpose to our game," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "It was a great effort across the board. I'm pleased with every aspect of our game and the contributions from each guy."

The Predators won four of six meetings against Chicago in 2011-12. Overall, the clubs have split the past 12 encounters in this series, but the Blackhawks have dropped four of their last six games in Nashville.

Nashville had a four-game winning streak halted on Saturday, but was able to pick up a point in the 2-1 loss at Minnesota. Devin Setoguchi scored the game- winner with 39 seconds left in overtime to lift the Wild to the win at Xcel Energy Center.

Chris Mason turned aside 30-of-32 shots for the Predators, who posted their only goal of the game midway through the first period.

"It's disappointing," Mason said of the loss. "I think with the way the schedule is, you don't have time to dwell on it and you have to try to take the positives and move forward. That's what we're going to do tonight, just be thankful for the point."

Paul Gaustad scored the lone Nashville goal, but also was called for a controversial hand pass in the faceoff circle at the 2:48 mark of overtime to set up Setoguchi's power-play tally.

The Predators are beginning a four-game homestand on Sunday and have a 1-0-2 record as the host in 2013.

The Sports Network

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