The Nashville Predators are looking for revenge against the Chicago Blackhawks tonight. Nothing better than a divisional rivalry game on Friday night.
The Nashville Predators left with a sour taste after they suffered a road overtime loss at Chicago on October 14th. The Predators seemed to control much of that game, but the Blackhawks tied it up late in the 3rd period, sent it to overtime, and got the win on a goal from Brandon Saad. It was a loss that many considered to be a blown two points. Winning teams keep their foot on the gas pedal until the horn sounds. Let’s see if the Predators can right their prior mistakes to emerge victorious.
It’s so satisfying to beat a divisional opponent, but there’s no one the Nashville Predators would rather crush than the Blackhawks.
The Chicago Blackhawks are 5-3-2 on the season and are coming off a loss in Vegas against the Golden Knights. They’re currently 2nd place in the Central Division with 12 points. They’re lead in points by Patrick Kane (12 points), Brandon Saad (9 points), and Ryan Hartman (9 points). Center Nick Schmaltz has emerged as a respectable second liner and looks like a good fit with Kane. Artem Anisimov has recently been demoted to the third line, but that’s just made the lineup even deeper. The Blackhawks are a team that have three lines that can score and once again will be a test for the Predators defensively.
The Blackhawks started the season off strong, as they won their first two games against the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Columbus Blue Jackets, 10-1 and 5-1, respectively. Although in their last 5 games, the scoring has dried up and they are 2-2-1. They’ll look to come out strong in front of a pumped up home crowd.
Both Roman Josi and Viktor Arvidsson had a maintenance day on Wednesday that kept them from practice. But, much to the relief of everyone, both returned to the regular practice lineup on Thursday. Expect them both of them to slot into their normal line up places. Another noticeable lineup change is that Samuel Girard might make his way back into the lineup.
Peter Laviolette has seemingly juggled his lineup if practice lines are worth paying attention to. It’s clearly an attempt to find chemistry and ignite depth scoring.The goals will come, the Predators are just snakebitten. They’re currently shooting at a 5.3%, expect that rise to the national average of 9.2% sooner rather than later. But anyways, here’s the projected line-up.
There isn’t a bunch of huge changes but some of the smaller ones deserve mentioning. It’s curious that Gaudreau is slotting in over Sissons. Also, Fiala slotting on the second line is a bit of a change. I actually really liked the Sissons-Smith-Fiala line, they drove possession and created chances, although they didn’t capitalize. Let’s hope the bottom six finds their scoring touch tonight.
What to Expect
Any rivalry game will bring forward a lot of hype. Both teams are looking for a win after coming off a loss. The Predators are looking for revenge for the overtime loss in Chicago a few weeks ago. I’d expect the Predators to come out with a sense of urgency as they are looking for not only a rivalry win, but also looking to start a winning streak. Filip Forsberg has been on a hot streak to start the season off, and Predators fans hope he can keep that up throughout the season.
The Blackhawks will not go down easily though. The Predators should try to capitalize on the Blackhawks lack of defensive depth. Let’s hope this is the game where the depth scoring heats up.
Follow the Game
The game will be televised on the NHL Network. You can listen on 102.5 The Game, where pre-game coverage starts at 6:30 PM. The puck drops around 7:30 PM Central/8:30 PM Eastern.
You won’t want to miss this game. It should be another installment in a long line of great rivalry games.