The NHL is set up with a great slate of games throughout Saturday. Eleven games are up on the board throughout April 3. One of these matchups will be between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Nashville Predators. These two teams have been solid throughout this season and will look for an important win in this one. This game will drop the puck at around 3:00 PM Eastern time.
The Blackhawks have put up a record of 17-16-5 throughout this season so far, which has them sitting in fifth place of the Central Division. Chicago is tied in points with the Predators and will look to jump them in the standings. The Blackhawks are coming off a loss in their last game and have lost seven of their last ten. Chicago will look to get back on track with an important win in this one.
Nashville has started out this season with a record of 19-18-1, which has them sitting in fourth place of the Central Division. The Predators will look to strengthen their hold on the fourth seed with a win in this one. Nashville is coming off a loss in their last game, which ended a six game winning streak. The Predators will look to get right back in the win column in this one.
These two teams are battling it out for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central Division. This should lead to a great matchup on Saturday afternoon. Both of these teams have been up and down throughout this season. The Predators have been hotter as of late and will look to use that to their advantage entering Saturday’s tilt.
The Blackhawks and the Predators have met up four times so far this season. Nashville hosted the first game on January 26. Dylan Strome and Mattias Janmark both scored for Chicago, but it was not enough. Mikael Granlund had a goal and an assist, while Roman Josi scored the overtime winner. Pekka Rinne stopped 18 of 20 shots as the Predators earned a 3-2 win on the night.
Nashville hosted the second game of the season series on January 27. Nick Cousins opened up the scoring in the third period, but Ryan Carpenter was able to tie it up before the end of regulation. Matt Duchene scored the shootout winner to lift the Predators to the win. Juuse Saros finished with 29 saves on 30 shots as Nashville grabbed a 2-1 win in the shootout.
The third game of the season series shifted to Chicago on March 27. Pius Sutter scored for the Blackhawks, but it was not enough on the night. Luke Kunin had two assists, while Ryan Johansen, Rocco Grimaldi and Mikael Granlund all scored a goal. Juuse Saros turned away 29 of the 30 shots he faced to help lead the Predators to a 3-1 win on the road.
The fourth and most recent game of the season series stayed in Chicago on March 28. Alex DeBrincat had two goals, while Pius Sutter had two assists. It still was not enough for the Blackhawks though. Viktor Arvidsson had a goal and an assist. Calle Jarnkrok and Roman Josi both tallied a goal as well. Pekka Rinne stopped 27 of 29 shots as Nashville grabbed a 3-2 win.
Chicago has been dangerous on the power play throughout this season. The Blackhawks have scored on 31 of their 116 power play opportunities, which is a 26.7 percent success rate. Chicago has struggled on the penalty kill this season though. The Blackhawks have given up 28 power play goals on 109 penalties against, which is a 74.3 percent penalty kill.
The Predators have been solid on the power play so far this season. Nashville has capitalized on 23 of their 113 power play attempts, which is a 20.4 percent power play. The Predators have put up the league worst penalty kill to this point in the season though. Nashville has killed off 88 of their opponents 122 power play chances, which is a 72.1 percent kill rate.
The Blackhawks have a slight edge in this one on special teams. Chicago has been better on the power play and penalty kill so far this season. Neither team has been great on the penalty kill though, which could lead to a big night for the power play. If either team can get going with the man advantage, it could be enough to earn a big win in this one.
Kevin Lankinen will likely get the start in the crease for the Blackhawks in this one. Lankinen has started in 26 games this season, going 13-9-4. He has posted a .920 save percentage and a GAA of 2.71 in those starts. Lankinen finished with 27 saves on 31 shots in his last start against the Carolina Hurricanes, which was not enough for the win.
I expect Juuse Saros to get the nod in the net for Nashville on Saturday afternoon. Saros has earned a record of 10-7 throughout his games played this season. He has put up a save percentage of .923 and a 2.39 GAA. Saros’s last start was against the Dallas Stars, where he stopped 27 of 30 shots in the losing effort. Saros will look to bounce back in this one.
These two goalies have put up similar stats throughout this season. Chicago will look to give Lankinen some extra help in this one as they try to bounce back with a win. Saros has been hot as of late, earning a save percentage of above .900 in his last seven games. The Predators will look for him to keep this up as they try to earn their fifth win against the Blackhawks this season.
Nashville has dominated the season series against the Blackhawks so far, winning all four games. Chicago will look to turn the tides in this one though. The Blackhawks will look for their special teams to step up. Chicago will also look to give Lankinen some extra help as they look for a win in this one. I think the Blackhawks can pull off the upset on the road though.
BetOnline has the Predators listed as a -121 against the money line in this one. This implies that Nashville will win this game around 54.8 percent of the time. I think that this line is a little high between two teams that have the same number of points this season. I think Chicago will finally break through on the Predators in this one and as slight underdogs, I really like the value on the Blackhawks.