Originally written on Inside Smashville  |  Last updated 11/16/14

DENVER - JANUARY 16: Brandon Yip #59 of the Colorado Avalanche controls the puck against the New Jersey Devils during NHL action at the Pepsi Center on January 16, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Avalanche defeated the Devils 3-1. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Season Records

Chicago Blackhawks 28-13-6

Nashville Predators 27-16-4

Yip (right) was claimed off waivers by the Predators. He will make his Predator debut Saturday night (Getty Images)

The Nashville Predators host the Chicago Blackhawks for the first of three games to be played at Bridgestone Arena between the two clubs during the regular season. Only four points separate the sixth place Predators from the fifth place Blackhawks.

Nashville netminder Pekka Rinne remains one of the hottest goalies in the League and the Predators are 11-0-1 when Rinne makes 35 saves or more in a game. While being almost unbeatable as of late posting a 9-1-0 record in his last 10 starts, Rinne’s record against Chicago is just 6-6-1 with a 2.53 goals against average and a .918 save percentage.

The Predators are now 1-1 with All-Star defenseman Ryan Suter out of the lineup this season. Jerred Smithson returned to the lineup on Thursday night in the Predators 3-0 win over the Blue Jackets. Smithson had missed the five previous games. Finally, Nashville fans will see Brandon Yip make his debut in a Nashville uniform on Saturday night. Yip was picked up on waivers by Nashville on Thursday but did not play against Columbus.

Since the start of the new calendar year, the Blackhawks have been hit with the injury bug losing Dan Carcillo for the season to a knee injury as well as Patrick Sharp being put on injured reserve for a wrist injury. A couple of rookies have stepped into the lineup and have been finding the back of the net for Chicago. Going into Friday night’s action against Florida, Andrew Shaw had five goals in eight contests while Jimmy Hayes had scored four goals in 10 games.

The Predators power play is second in the League with a 21.4 percent success rate with the man advantage, but it is the recent success of their penalty kill that will help Nashville on Saturday night. The Blackhawks power play is 9th in the League with an 18.8 percent success rate. However, the Blackhawks have struggled scoring on the power play at home and do not have the same difficulties on the road with a 23.4 percent man advantage away from the United Center.

Nashville’s penalty kill has been perfect in 11 of the last 13 games. During that span, the Predators penalty kill has moved up from 24th in the League with a 79.8 percent kill off rate to a more impressive 11th in the League, 83.0 percent kill off rate. Whereas the Blackhawks are a better power play team on the road, Nashville is a better penalty killing team away from Bridgestone Arena, killing off 87 percent of penalties taken on the road, but move to 77.6 percent at home.

For the Predators to come out on top Saturday night they will need to stay out of the penalty box. This season, Nashville has been assessed 462 penalty minutes, which is fifth fewest in the League.

Saturday night’s game starts at 7 pm CT at Bridgestone Arena.

The Predators will host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night before heading to Chicago Tuesday to once again face off against the Blackhawks before the NHL takes its All-Star break.

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