NHL Picks: Blackhawks Strong Defense To Overtake Injured Predators

Dana Lane

Thursday, February 25, 2016 2:28 PM UTC

Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016 2:28 PM UTC

A win for the Blackhawks could put them back on top in the Central Division. They face Predators who are firmly in a position to earn a wild card spot. See my NHL Pick on who will win. 

Nashville Predators vs. Chicago Blackhawks
We now get to see how the Blackhawks will respond after an embarrassing defeat. The Hawk's were crushed by the Minnesota Wild in the Stadium Series last Sunday on national television so Chicago better make a statement or the questions will start to arise about just how good the Blackhawks are and do they have what it takes to win another Cup.  

Corey Crawford gave up four goals on 23 shots before giving way to Scott Darling. I expect him to be back in goal against Nashville. To me there isn't a goaltender in the league that can get into a shutout groove faster than Crawford. He's has a top notch demeanor which allows him to come up with big saves in the clutch. Against Nashville, Crawford is 3-0-0 with a 1.33 goals-against average and .966 save percentage. 

It seems that Nashville goaltender, Pekka Rinne, has turned his season around but I want to see him preform at a high level a couple more times before I put my money behind him as my NHL pick. I'm still trying to figure out if he is the goaltender who had a 3-6-1 streak, two of which were losses to the Blackhawks where Rinne gave up up three goals twice, or the one who answered that stretch with a 6-3-2 run. I know what I'm getting with Crawford not so much with Rinne. 

The Blackhawks, Patrick Kane, is my MVP this season leading the NHL odds boards with 35 goals while tracking to have 111 points. He is a tremendous playmaker with a deadly shot. His true value is how he makes everyone better around him. Kane has 5 goals and six assist in the nine games following the All-Star break. He has 41 points in 47 career games against Nashville. 

Chicago captain, Jonathan Toews, now has a streak of eight points in his last eight games. 

Nashville is setting a standard of not being a solid play inside their division. In their last 20 games the Preds are just 6-11-3 against the Central. 


Bet Analysis
I have a few concerns. The Predators top center, Ryan Johansen, who has just 1 goal in his last 14 games. Part of that could be because they are a little weak on the left side of the blue line with Gabriel Bourque and Eric Nystrom out. Bourque finished his time with the Milwaukee Admirals and now will be sidelined in Nashville with an undisclosed injury. Love those NHL injury reports. Nystrom has not returned to practice from a broken foot. If I'm Nashville, I try to get another forward that can put the puck in the net. 

Defensively the Blackhawks D-men are playing as well as they have all season. Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, and Niklas Hjalmarsson are playing playoff hockey. I expect Joel Quenneville to have Chicago prepared for success tonight. 

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NHL Pick: Chicago -135
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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