The Nashville Predators and Chicago Blackhawks will finish up a
home-and-home series on tonight, after Nashville took the first game 3-2.
The Predators took the first leg as they won 3-2 via
shootout at home on Saturday night. The Blackhawks blew a 2-0 lead in the third
period but they’ll tighten things up as they play host on Sunday.
Predators Can Win Because…:
The Nashville Predators are one of the hottest team in the NHL, even
though few people have noticed. The Preds have kicked it up a notch since New
Year’s Eve as they have wins in seven of their last eight games. Their lone
loss was a one-goal slipup in Florida. More impressive has been the fact that
four of those wins came on the road.
The offense is clicking right now as they have scored 19
goals in their last 24 periods of play and that’s pretty good since one of
their best offensive weapons, Steve Sullivan, is out right now.
The Preds are actually higher in the standings than the
Blackhawks right now, although few people would believe that they are ahead of
the Stanley Cup Champs. They are two points ahead of Chicago and have topped the Blackhawks in
three of the first four meetings this season.
Even though they are on the road, they’ll be in an
environment where they are fairly comfortable.
Blackhawks Can Win Because…:
They have regained their swagger. They are 3-0-1 in their
last four and are 8-4-1 in their last 13.
What’s keyed the current stretch has been the play of
young goaltender Corey Crawford, who has emerged as the Chicago Blackhawks No. 1
goalie. He’s allowed just two goals in his last three games and is 4-1-1 in his
last six starts.
The Hawks dominated the Saturday meeting between the two
teams and had it not been for a four-minute stretch in the third where they
lost focus – and blew their 2-0 lead – the Blackhawks would have taken the
first game in this set.
Overall, they haven’t allowed a power play goal in three
straight games and they are going to make the Predators work hard to earn their
chances on Sunday.
Chicago has won seven of the last 11 meetings at home in
this series. They are also 7-2 in their last nine home games and have played
markedly better at the United Center since mid-December. Nothing should change
Outlook & NHL
The Blackhawks are not going to lose both ends of a
home-and-home series with the Predators. They fell short 3-2 in a shootout loss
in Nashville on Saturday but will be well-prepared to bounce-back on Sunday at
The Preds are hot but they’ve caught a number of
struggling teams in a row including the Minnesota Wild, the Los Angeles Kings
and San Jose Sharks. And while they’ve fared well on the road recently, they
are a better home team and so are the Blackhawks.
Bet the Blackhawks at your favorite NHL sportsbook as they’ll get the rebound
win at home on Sunday.