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Game Preview: Nashville Predators v. Chicago Blackhawks


Your Nashville Predators take on the Chicago Blackhawks tonight at 7:00 CST at the Bridgestone Arena. Let’s see how these teams stack up.

Current Record

  • Predators 8-9-2 (18 pts) 7th in the Central
  • Blackhawks 13-2-4 (30 pts) 1st in the Central

Last Five

  • Predators 1-4-0
  • Blackhawks 4-0-1

Stats

  • Goals per game – Preds 2.1 (25th) – Blackhawks 3.6 (1st)
  • Goals against – Preds 3.1 (25th) – Blackhawks 2.7 (17th)
  • Power Play % – Preds 19.3 (13th) – Blackhawks 22.7 (4th)
  • Penalty Kill % – Preds 81.0 (21st) – Blackhawks 74.1 (29th)

Welcome home. The Preds finished up their seventeen day road trip last night in Pittsburgh and return home to Nashville to take on the Chicago Blackhawks. The Preds lost their last four games and have been outscored 17-2 during that stretch. Meanwhile, the Hawks are 4-0-1 in their last five and have scored 21 goals while only allowing 13.  As everything seems to be going right for the Blackhawks right now, they are going in the opposite direction for the Preds.

Nashville’s struggles at both ends of the ice were really highlighted over the course of the road trip.  Offensively, the Preds have not been getting the puck to the net and when they do, the chances are not high quality.  The forecheck has been almost non-existent and everyone who was hot has cooled off.  The return of Mike Fisher to the lineup should help around the net but the Preds need to figure out what they are doing with Filip Forsberg.

The defense has also looked out of sorts.  They have been caught out of position by over pursuing the puck and not being cognizant of their responsibilities.  This led to a number of point-blank opportunities for their opponents.  The goaltending has also struggled with inconsistent play.  Marek Mazanec made some big saves against the Penguins but also let in a number of soft goals.  Carter Hutton has not been consistent either, he has offered solid play some nights but let in a couple of weak goals the next.  Pekka Rinne is sorely missed right now.

Earlier this week the rich got richer when the Blackhawks made the biggest trade of this NHL season by reacquiring Kris Versteeg. Versteeg is a two-time 20 goal scorer and will add even more depth to an already strong Chicago offense. The Chicago offense is already anchored by Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa and is one of the deadliest in the league.  The game also offers a reunion of sorts for Carter Hutton and Viktor Stalberg. It will be the first time that both players have faced their former team this season.

Prediction – Predators 4-3. The Preds will have some extra jump after finally coming home and Hutton will have some extra motivation.

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Scott Gardner is the Editor at Predlines.com and can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @scottcgardner. For the latest updates in Predator news, follow @PredlinesNSH

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