Terrific Top Line

Coming off an impressive victory over the best team in the NHL, the Nashville Predators hope their top line can continue their terrific offensive play Thursday against the last-place Chicago Blackhawks.

Nashville (30-22-6) got six points from the line of Jason Arnott, Alexander Radulov and J.P. Dumont to beat NHL-leading Detroit 4-2 on Tuesday. The victory came two days after the trio combined for seven points in a 6-3 win at Phoenix.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Nashville -182 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 5.5 goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 63% of bets for this game have been placed on Chicago +162 (View NHL Bet Percentages).

"When they are paying attention to playing a real heads-up game - a give-and-go pro game instead of one-on-one situations - they have a lot of good pieces," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "They made some great plays off of the transition and rush."

The outstanding scoring displays have moved the Preds into a tie with Calgary for sixth place in the Western Conference, one point ahead of eight-place Colorado.

Nashville, which has won five of its last seven, hopes Arnott, Radulov and Dumont can help it win a season-high third consecutive game for the sixth time. However, the trio has been held to six points in losing the last three matchups to Chicago (24-25-6). The line netted nine points in winning the first two season meetings.

Dumont assisted on a pair of goals, but the other two were held pointless in a 3-2 shootout loss at Sommet Center on Jan. 13.

Dumont has been hot of late with 11 goals and 18 assists in the last 22 games, and shares the team lead with Arnott with 52 points. Dumont's 21 goals are two shy of his career high set in 2000-01 and matched the next season.

Radulov is enjoying a banner season. The second-year wing has career highs of 23 goals and 46 points, including 10 goals and four assists his last 11 games.

The 21-year-old Russian had two goals in Tuesday's victory.

The Blackhawks, meanwhile, are looking to conclude a seven-game road trip with back-to-back wins after routing Columbus 7-2 on Wednesday. They are 2-2-2 so far on the season-high swing.

"It was a good team effort all around," said Hawks defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, who had two goals against the Blue Jackets. "We came right out of the gates hungry and ready to go. We needed a win to turn things around. Everything's looking positive right now."

Byfuglien's performance Wednesday came after he endured a season-high six-game scoring drought. He is Chicago's highest-scoring blueliner with career highs of 11 goals and 25 points.

The Blackhawks also hope Patrick Kane - their leader with 47 points - can build on his goal against the Jackets after being held to two assists in the previous eight games. The 19-year-old rookie has six points in five games against Nashville, equaling Robert Lang, Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews.

Toews, though, is still searching for his first goal since missing 16 games with a sprained knee. In two games since returning, the center has two assists.

"We know how good we can be," Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook said after Wednesday's win. "To have sort of an outbreak like that gives us confidence that we can score against any team in the league."

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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