Predators welcome in the Capitals

January 16, 2015 18:58:21 UK

The Nashville Predators will look to maintain their lead over the Chicago Blackhawks in the Central Division on Friday when the Washington Capitals come into town.

Winners of four straight to open up a four-point lead over the Blackhawks, the Predators face one of the hotter sides in the league in the Capitals who have successfully chased down the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins in the Metropolitan Division.

On Tuesday Nashville had far too much for the visiting Vancouver Canucks to the Bridgestone Arena in a 5-1 triumph. Colin Wilson scored twice and Craig Smith, Filip Forsberg and Mike Fisher also lit the lamp.

However, netminder Pekka Rinne was lost for up to five weeks with a knee injury and Carter Hutton takes over in goal. It will be instructive to see the performance of the 29-year-old and the Predators are likely to jump into the market if they perceive any kind of weakness in their back-up.

The Blackhawks and St Louis Blues are tied in second place both sitting on 58 points. Chicago welcome in the Winnipeg Jets on Friday evening to the United Center and a victory for the visitors would pull them to within a couple of points of their rivals in the Central Division.

The Blues meanwhile fell to the Detroit Red Wings at the Scottrade Center in St Louis on Thursday but did manage to pick up a regulation point in the process. David Backes and Alexander Steen scored in the third period to tie proceedings for the hosts only for Pavel Datsyuk to strike with three seconds remaining in the extra frame.

The Predators are 9.00 to win the Stanley Cup while the Blackhawks are at 8.50 and the Ducks 9.00.

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