The NHL is set up with another great night of hockey on Wednesday. Four games will be up on the board throughout April 21. One of these matchups will be between the Nashville Predators and the Chicago Blackhawks. These two teams both need a big two points in this game. This one will drop the puck at around 7:00 PM Eastern time on NBCSN.
Nashville has earned a record of 25-21-1 to this point in the season, which has them in fourth place of the Central Division. The Predators have a one point lead on the Dallas Stars and a four point lead on Chicago. Nashville is coming off a win in their last game, which ended a two game losing streak. The Predators will look to come out fast in this one.
The Blackhawks have put up a record of 21-20-5 throughout this season, which has them sitting in sixth place of the Central Division. Chicago is only four points out of a playoff spot and need to get going now if they want to catch that playoff spot. The Blackhawks lost their last game and two of their last three. Chicago needs to bounce back in this one.
These two teams are right in the mix for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central Division. These two teams have been up and down throughout this season, but need to finish this final stretch strong. The Predators have dominated Chicago throughout the season series and will look to keep that going in this one. The Blackhawks will look to change things up in this one.
The Predators and the Blackhawks have met up six times so far this season. Nashville hosted the first two games of the season series. Mikael Granlund had a goal and an assist in the first game as the Predators won 3-2 in overtime. Matt Duchene scored the shootout winner in the second game to lift Nashville to a 2-1 win at home.
Chicago hosted the third and fourth game of the season series. Luke Kunin had two assists in the third game. Juuse Saros stopped 29 of 30 shots in that matchup as the Predators won 3-1. Viktor Arvidsson had a goal and an assist in the fourth game. Pekka Rinne finished with 27 saves on 29 shots to help lead Nashville to a 3-2 win on the road.
The fifth game of the season series shifted back to Nashville on April 3. Eeli Tolvanen opened up the scoring on the power play. Colton Sissons scored a shorthanded penalty shot to extend the lead, while Luke Kunin iced it with a goal in the third. Juuse Saros stopped all 41 shots he faced as the Predators earned a 3-0 win.
The sixth and most recent game of the season series was in Nashville on April 19. Alex DeBrincat and David Kampf both had goals on the night, but the Blackhawks came up short. Calle Jarnkrok and Luke Kunin both had a goal and an assist on the night. Mikael Granlund earned two assists, while Saros faced 32 shots and stopped 30 of them. The Predators won 5-2 to keep up their success.
Nashville has struggled on both sides of special teams throughout this season. The Predators have scored on 25 of their 137 power play chances, which is an 18.3 percent power play. Nashville has killed off 111 of their opponents 148 power play attempts, which is a 75 percent kill rate. The Predators need to step up on special teams if they want to hold onto the final playoff spot.
The Blackhawks have been strong on the power play throughout this season. Chicago has capitalized on 34 of their 144 power play opportunities, which is a 23.6 percent success rate. The Blackhawks have struggled on the penalty kill though. Chicago has given up 31 power play goals on 128 penalties against, which is a 75.8 percent penalty kill.
Chicago has the edge on special teams with their power play in this one. Neither team has been great on the penalty kill, which will give both teams a chance to get going with the man advantage. The Predators need to stay out of the box in this one. If the Blackhawks can control special teams in this one, they could knock off Nashville on Wednesday night.
I expect Juuse Saros to get the start between the pipes for the Predators in this one. Saros has earned a record of 16-9 throughout his games played this season. He has posted a .928 save percentage and a 2.22 GAA through his starts. Saros finished with 30 saves on 32 shots in Monday’s win against the Blackhawks.
Kevin Lankinen will likely get the nod in the net for Chicago on Wednesday night. Lankinen has started in 33 games this season, going 16-13-4. He has put up a save percentage of .911 and a 2.89 GAA through his games played. Lankinen’s last start was against the Predators where he stopped 17 of 22 shots in the losing effort.
These two goalies have been strong throughout this season. Saros has been very strong since his tough start to the season. Lankinen is coming off a tough performance on Monday night, but I think he will bounce back in this one. If the Blackhawks can give Lankinen some help with a couple quick goals in this one, I think it will be enough for the win.
The Predators have dominated Chicago throughout this season, but I think that the Blackhawks will bounce back with a win in this one. Chicago is coming off another big loss to Nashville on Monday night, but I think they will switch things up in this one. If the Blackhawks can have a bounce back performance from Lankinen, it should be enough for the win.
BetOnline has the Predators listed as a -113 against the money line in this one. This implies that Nashville will win this game around 53.1 percent of the time. This line makes sense as the Predators have dominated the season series. I think the Blackhawks will bounce back in this one though. I like Chicago as underdogs at home on Wednesday night.