The NHL is set up with another great slate of games throughout April 19. Eight games are up on the board throughout Monday night. One of these matchups will be between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Nashville Predators. This will be an important game as both teams fight for a playoff spot. This game will drop the puck at around 8:00 PM Eastern time.
Chicago has earned a record of 21-19-5 throughout this season, which has them in fifth place of the Central division. The Blackhawks are only two points behind Nashville for that final playoff spot. Chicago is coming off a win in their last game and have won three of their last four. The Blackhawks will look to carry momentum over into this one.
The Predators have put up a record of 24-21-1 to this point in the season, which has them in the fourth seed of the Central Division. Nashville will look to keep their lead on the Blackhawks with a win in this one. The Predators are coming off back to back losses and will need to find a way to bounce back in this one. I expect Nashville to switch things up entering this game.
These two teams are in a tight battle for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central Division. The Dallas Stars are on both of their tails as well with games in hand. Both teams need to finish this season strong if they want that playoff spot. I expect an exciting tilt between these two teams on Monday night as they look to control the fourth seed.
The Blackhawks and the Predators have met up five times throughout this season. Nashville hosted the first two games of the season series on January 26 and 27. Mikael Granlund had a goal and an assist in the first game as the Predators won 3-2 in overtime. Matt Duchene had an assist and the shootout winner in the second game to lift Nashville to a 2-1 win.
The third and fourth game of the season series shifted to Chicago on March 27 and 28. Luke Kunin had two assists in the third game, while Juuse Saros stopped 29 of 30 shots. The Predators were able to hold on for a 3-1 win. Alex DeBrincat scored twice for the Blackhawks in the fourth game, but it was not enough. Viktor Arvidsson had a goal and an assist as Nashville won 3-2.
Nashville hosted the fifth game of the season series on April 3. Eeli Tolvanen scored on the power play to open up the scoring. Colton Sissons and Luke Kunin both scored as well to help lift the Predators to the win. Juuse Saros stopped all 41 shots he faced on the night as Nashville was able to earn a 3-0 win at home.
These two teams have already met up five times this season with the Predators winning all five games. Nashville has pulled off a lot of close games against the Blackhawks and will look to do it again in this one. Chicago has struggled to finish strong against the Predators and will need to switch things up in this one. If the Blackhawks can change the pace on Nashville, I think they could pull off a win in this one.
Chicago has been strong on the power play throughout this season. The Blackhawks have scored on 33 of their 139 power play chances, which is a 23.7 percent success rate. Chicago has struggled a bit on the penalty kill though. The Blackhawks have killed off 92 of their opponents 123 power play attempts, which is a 74.8 percent penalty kill.
The Predators have struggled a bit on both sides of special teams throughout this season. Nashville has capitalized on 25 of their 132 power play opportunities, which is an 18.9 percent power play. The Predators have given up 36 power play goals on 143 penalties against, which is a 74.8 percent kill rate. Nashville needs to step up on special teams if they want to hold on to the fourth seed.
These two teams have struggled a bit throughout this season on special teams. The Blackhawks have been strong on the power play and will look to dominate a struggling Nashville penalty kill. The Predators will need to find a way to stay out of the box in this one. Nashville could also get their own power play going against Chicago in this one.
Kevin Lankinen will likely get the start in the crease for the Blackhawks in this one. Lankinen has started in 32 games this season, going 16-12-4. He has put up a save percentage of .914 and a 2.79 GAA through those starts. Lankinen’s last start was against the Detroit Red Wings where he stopped 24 of 27 shots in the loss.
I expect Juuse Saros to get the nod between the pipes for Nashville on Monday night. Saros has earned a record of 15-9 throughout this season. He has posted a .928 save percentage and a GAA of 2.23 through his games played. Saros finished with 45 saves on 47 shots in his last start against the Carolina Hurricanes, which was not enough for the win.
These two goalies have been solid throughout this season. The Predators have a slight edge with how Saros has played as of late. Nashville will lean on him once again in this one. Lankinen is coming off a forgettable start in his last outing and has had a couple days off entering this one. If Lankinen can come out hot, it could give a big edge to the Blackhawks.
The Predators have dominated Chicago throughout this season, but I think that the Blackhawks will bounce back with a big win in this one. Chicago has been solid as of late and I think their special teams can give them the edge on Monday night. If the Blackhawks can break through on Saros early, I think they can make him have an off night.
BetOnline has Nashville listed as a -137 against the money line in this one. This implies that the Predators will win this game around 57.8 percent of the time. I think that this line is a bit high for two teams battling it out for the fourth seed. I think Chicago will finally knock off Nashville in this one and as underdogs, I really like the value on the Blackhawks.