Blackhawks

Corey Crawford in net vs. Predators as Blackhawks vie for 12th straight win

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Corey Crawford in net vs. Predators as Blackhawks vie for 12th straight win

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa did not skate this morning but will play tonight when they face the Nashville Predators.

Corey Crawford will get the start.

The Blackhawks will be going for a franchise-record 12th consecutive victory tonight. They didn’t fare so well their last time in Nashville – the Predators won 5-1. The Blackhawks have improved in a lot of ways since then. That includes their road record, which is 6-1 since that Dec. 10 meeting in Nashville.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

It’s good the Blackhawks have improved away from the United Center because seven of their next eight games, including tonight’s contest, are on the road.

“We have a real tough schedule here, not just going into the [All-Star] break but coming out of it,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “I just think the consistency of our game can make us an effective team. Now that we’ve got some momentum away from home we don’t want to change much. That’s the way you have success, playing home or away, is doing the right things all game long and everybody doing [them.]”

The Predators have struggled lately, going 3-5-2 in their last 10 games. Pekka Rinne is expected to start tonight.

NHL Draft Profile: D Evan Bouchard

NHL Draft Profile: D Evan Bouchard

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Evan Bouchard

Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 193 pounds
Shoots: Right

Scouting report:

"A highly intelligent defenseman with exceptional vision and offensive instincts. He reads the play very well and his passing ability allows him to be a constant threat in his team's transition game. He's one of the top offensive-defenseman in the Canadian Hockey League and magician-like when quarterbacking the power play."

NHL player comparable: John Carlson/Alex Pietrangelo

Fit for Blackhawks:

At 6-foot-2, 193 pounds, Bouchard is one of the most NHL-ready defensemen in this year's draft and that could be appetizing for a team like the Blackhawks, who are looking for immediate help on the blue line. But Bouchard is a right-handed shot, and drafting him would add a third high-end right-handed shot defenseman to the organization, along with prospects Henri Jokiharju and Ian Mitchell.

You can never have enough of them, but there's only room for three before somebody would have to play on their off hand and that would mean the third would be playing on the bottom pairing. All three of these players have Top 4 potential.

Still, that may not even come into play here. The Blackhawks will seek to take the best available player, like they always have. And if they feel it's Bouchard, they'll do it.

NHL Draft Profile: F Brady Tkachuk

NHL Draft Profile: F Brady Tkachuk

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Brady Tkachuk

Position: Forward
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 196 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"I know Tkachuk isn't a center, but Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks) is another player who comes to mind with his combination of size, strength, skill and nastiness. Tkachuk has impressive hand skills and his upside has only begun because I think there's lots of maturity and growth to come. I've seen his speed and skating improve each of the past three years and I think he'll still get stronger and his balance will get better. His man strength will come and it'll be like, 'Oh boy, look out.'"

NHL player comparable: Matthew Tkachuk/Wayne Simmonds

Fit for Blackhawks:

If you're looking for a player that checks all the boxes in this year's draft, it's Tkachuk. And man could the Blackhawks use a player like him.

He's got offensive skill, willingly goes to the greasy areas, can provide net-front presence while playing a top-six role, and perhaps the most important part for the Blackhawks: he's very close to NHL ready. The Blackhawks will be patient with whoever they draft, but there's also some urgency to turn things around in 2018-19.

If they can draft a player like Tkachuk who can potentially jump into the lineup as early as this upcoming season, that would be ideal. Because he's the type of player that can make an impact, not just get by.