A playoffs rematch from a year ago tonight between the Nashville Predators and Chicago Blackhawks. I recall it being an entertaining series, with of course, the Blackhawks winning it 4-2. The Preds and Blackhawks met in the first round, a matchup of 104 and 102 point teams. Despite Nashville finishing ahead in the standings, the Blackhawks took the Preds down and then went on to handle the Wild by sweeping them. The Blackhawks ultimately won another Stanley Cup last season. As well as the Wild have been playing this season, neither the Predators or Blackhawks want to run into them in the postseason. If the Wild were to finish with a 1st seed and the Blackhawks 8th, I’m pretty sure Minnesota would just want to forfeit that seed and take the number 2 seed. The Blackhawks haven’t been too nice to the Predators in the playoff either. But really, what team in the league would want to run into the Blackhawks in the spring?
The Predators were able to secure a win the last time they met, exactly a month ago on December 12th. The Hawks didn’t put out much effort, as they lost the contest by a score of 5-1. The Blackhawks welcome the Predators to town tonight. In my opinion the Predators had their window of opportunity the past several years, and now that window is starting to close. A team that has been so dominant in the regular season of late, is looking at a 19-16-6-1 at the moment. While that isn’t all that bad, the Predators are used to pushing at a higher pace this time of the season. In fact, the Preds lost only 25 games last season, so they are just 9 off from that before we hit the All-Star break. It shouldn’t be easy bumping the Blackhawks off tonight on the road. Let’s get to the pick for Tuesday night in the NHL.
Nashville Predators vs. Chicago Blackhawks NHL Pick
Chicago is vying to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions in 2016. The way they have been playing, there is no denying they will be in the mix one again. While everybody is riding the Capitals, thinking this has to be their year, everyone seems to be forgetting about the Blackhawks. Unlike the Capitals, the Hawks have come to show that they don’t choke on the biggest stage. Winning the way the Caps have is nice and all, but the 27-13-4 Blackhawks are going to be as dangerous, if not more dangerous than the Capitals come playoff time. For people that like to bet futures, I don’t feel like there is any value on betting the Caps to win the Stanley Cup.
Patrick Kane certainly made the most from off-ice distractions this season. He opened the season with rumors swirling of rape allegations. Kane shook it off and is one of the most productive players of the season. He enters with 25 goals and 37 assists, also posting a very impressive +/- of 19. Kane and Toews clicking at the right time seems like the likely scenario that the Blackhawks are going to be difficult to stop later in the season when things really start to count. When the Predators and Blackhawks met in the playoffs a year ago, there was one bet I was constantly hitting.
The defense has waned out for the Predators, as they have attempted to add more offense to the equation. The Preds have allowed 2.71 goals per game this season. That is way off from the top 5 defensive unit we witnessed for so many years. After Barry Trotz was fired, the defense took a hit. Last season in the playoffs we seen that on full display. The OVER hit all but once in that series, going 5-1. It’s gone 7-2-1 the last ten times they have played. I jumped on the OVER in that series when the sportsbooks were dishing out totals of 5. I see a 5 tonight and I’m going to go back to this trend tonight.
PICK: OVER 5 GOALS (-120)