Blackhawks try to end lengthy slide in Nashville

The Chicago Blackhawks didn't look like a team ready to break out of their longest slump in four years the last time they hit the ice. Doing so against the Nashville Predators may prove difficult as well.

The Blackhawks hope to avoid a ninth setback in a row in a meeting with the division-rival Predators.

Chicago, just two seasons removed from a Stanley Cup championship, are in the midst of their first eight-game slide since an 0-6-2 stretch from Dec. 30-Jan. 11 during the 2007-08 season. Its current drought includes an 0-5-1 mark on a season-long nine-game road trip.

The Blackhawks suffered their 10th straight defeat on road ice Saturday, falling 3-0 at the Phoenix Coyotes. Mike Smith made 38 saves to shut down Chicago, which got 24 stops from Ray Emery.

A loss tonight would give Chicago its longest losing streak since dropping nine in a row from Jan. 4-26, 2007.

"We need something to give in and make us feel good about ourselves," said Chicago captain Jonathan Toews.

The Blackhawks now sit at 10-14-3 on the road and have dipped into a tie for sixth overall in the Western Conference with the Kings. Both clubs sit five points behind the Predators.

Nashville is 2-0-1 in three meetings with Chicago this season, outscoring the club 8-3 over consecutive wins. The Predators own three victories in their past four encounters at home versus the Blackhawks.

The Preds have secured points in 16 of their last 20 games, going 14-4-2 in that time, but have lost four of their past five. They suffered their third loss in a row on Saturday, falling 4-3 at Boston in a shootout.

Pekka Rinne was peppered with 41 shots through overtime and was bested twice in the shootout. Sergei Kostitsyn and Martin Erat came up empty on their attempts in the tiebreaker.

"They outshot us. Probably outplayed us, too," said Rinne, who made 38 saves. "We gave a point away.

Shea Weber, Patrick Hornqvist and Mike Fisher scored in regulation for the Preds, who saw the Bruins' Milan Lucic force overtime on a goal with 67 seconds left in the third period.