End The Skid

December has not been a good month for either the Nashville Predators or Chicago Blackhawks.

The bottom two clubs in the Central Division each look to end their current losing skids as they meet Wednesday night at the United Center.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Chicago -141 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 74% of bets for this game have been placed on Nashville +131 (View NHL Bet Percentages).

Nashville (14-15-2), last in the division and two points behind Chicago (15-15-2), lost 3-2 at Minnesota on Tuesday night for its fourth straight loss. Though the Predators scored more than one goal for the first time in four games, it could not hold a 2-0 lead as the Wild scored all three goals in the third period.

"One game we should've had and we gave it to them in the end,'' said Nashville's Jason Arnott, who scored his ninth goal and first in 10 games. "It's pretty frustrating. There are some mental breakdowns we have to correct or it's going to be a long year.''

The loss dropped Nashville to 2-6-0 in December after going 8-2-2 during November.

"It's all ourselves," said Nashville coach Barry Trotz, whose team has scored 12 goals in losing six of its last seven contests. "We've played some really good hockey and didn't get the results when we probably should have been on the winning side of some of those games.

Chicago hasn't been any better this month, going 1-6-0 in December after posting an 8-3-2 record in November.

The Predators, though, might be in better position than the Blackhawks to turn things around when they meet for the third time this season.

Nashville hasn't had trouble scoring goals against Chicago, winning 5-4 in overtime at home on Nov. 15 and 5-2 at the United Center on Nov. 4.

Arnott has two goals and an assist versus Chicago this season for Nashville, which is 6-0-2 against the Blackhawks since falling 3-1 at the United Center on Oct. 12, 2006, for its most recent regulation loss in the series.

Chicago looks to avoid a third straight loss after losing 3-1 to Florida at home on Sunday. The Blackhawks have lost four of their last five games at home since winning five in a row there.

"We just have to hate to lose a little more,'' said Chicago rookie forward Jonathan Toews, who was held scoreless Sunday after recording four points in his previous two games. "Right now, we don't hate to lose enough.''

Against Florida, rookie Dave Bolland's first NHL goal was the only one Chicago could muster despite recording a season-high 45 shots.

Like the Predators, the Blackhawks have struggled offensively of late, scoring just two goals in their last two games after beating Los Angeles 6-3 last Wednesday.

"We had enough chances to win, but we can't accept losing," Chicago coach Denis Savard said. "I talked about being desperate last week. We have to be more desperate.''

Nikolai Khabibulin didn't start Sunday and could sit again Wednesday against Nashville, a team he has lost his last six starts against, while posting a 4.52 goals-against average during that span.

Backup Patrick Lalime, though, has lost his last four starts, but won his most recent one for Chicago against Nashville in a 3-2 shootout win on April 3.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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