The NHL is set up with a strong day of action throughout March 27. Eleven games are up on the board throughout Saturday. One of these games will be between the Nashville Predators and the Chicago Blackhawks. These two teams have been up and down throughout this season, which should lead to a good game in this one. This game will drop the puck at around 8:00 PM Eastern time.
The Predators have put up a record of 16-17-1 to this point in the season, which has them sitting in sixth place of the Central Division. Nashville has won three games in a row and five of their last six. The Predators will look to keep this hot streak going as they try to near a playoff spot. I expect Nashville to try and keep momentum going as they enter this matchup.
Chicago has opened up this season with a record of 16-13-5, which has them sitting in fourth place of the Central Division. The Blackhawks are three points ahead of the Blue Jackets and four points ahead of Nashville. Chicago will look to keep their lead on the fourth seed with a win in this one. The Blackhawks have won two straight games, but have lost six of their last nine.
These two teams are still in the race for a playoff spot in the Central Division, which should lead to a good game on Saturday night. Nashville has been stronger as of late, while the Blackhawks have had some struggles. Both teams are entering this matchup on a winning streak, which both teams will look to keep up in this meeting.
The Predators and the Blackhawks have met up twice so far this season. Nashville hosted the first game of the season series on January 26. Dylan Strome and Mattias Janmark each scored for Chicago, but it was not enough. Mikael Granlund had the game tying goal and an assist to force overtime. Roman Josi scored the game winner as the Predators earned a 3-2 victory.
The second game of the season series stayed in Nashville on January 27. Nick Cousins opened up the scoring in the third period. Ryan Carpenter tied up the game later in the third period. Kevin Lankinen stopped 41 of 42 shots, but it was not enough. Matt Duchene scored the game winner in the shootout, while Juuse Saros stopped 29 of 30 shots in the 2-1 win.
Nashville was able to take both games early in the season series. These two teams split last season’s series 2-2. The Predators and the Blackhawks have become rivals over the last few seasons, which should make this a great game to watch. Chicago will look to knock off Nashville in this one after meeting them early in the season.
The Predators have been strong on the power play throughout this season. Nashville has capitalized on 22 of their 108 power play power play attempts, which is a 20.4 percent power play. The Predators have struggled a bit on the penalty kill though. Nashville has given up 32 goals on 114 penalties against, which is a 71.9 percent kill rate.
Chicago has been lethal on the power play to this point in the season. The Blackhawks have scored on 30 of their 106 power play opportunities, which is a 28.3 percent success rate. Chicago has also struggled a bit on the kill though. The Blackhawks have killed off 78 of their opponents 106 power play chances, which is a 73.6 percent penalty kill.
The Blackhawks have the edge on special teams in this one with a better power play and penalty kill. Chicago’s penalty kill has not been great though, which could give the Predators a chance to capitalize on the man advantage. Nashville will look for their penalty kill to step up as they have a tough task against the Blackhawks power play in this one. If either team can capitalize on the power play, it could be enough for the win.
I expect Pekka Rinne to get the start between the pipes for Nashville in this one. Rinne has earned a record of 8-11-1 throughout his starts this season. He has posted a .899 save percentage and a GAA of 3.07 through those games. Rinne’s last start was against the Dallas Stars on March 21, where he stopped 27 of 30 shots in a winning effort.
Kevin Lankinen will likely get the nod in the net for the Blackhawks on Saturday night. Lankinen has started in 23 games, going 12-7-4 through those starts. He has put up a save percentage of .920 and a 2.71 GAA. Lankinen finished with a 41 shot shutout in his last start against the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.
Chicago has a slight edge in this one with Lankinen getting the start in the crease. Lankinen is coming off a big performance against Florida and will look to carry that momentum into this one. Rinne has had almost a week since his last start and will look to come out strong in this one. If either goalie can start out hot in this one, it could help give their team the win.
These two teams have been solid throughout this season, which should lead a great game on Saturday night. The Predators are looking to keep their strong stretch alive, while Chicago will look to carry momentum over from their two game sweep against the Panthers. I think the Blackhawks will be able to bounce back after losing the first two games of the season series to Nashville.
BetOnline has Chicago listed as a -113 against the money line in this one. This implies that the Blackhawks will win this game around 53.1 percent of the time. I think that with Chicago’s edge on special teams and in net, they can win this game. I really like the value on the Blackhawks to knock off Nashville on Saturday night.