The Chicago Blackhawks enter the playoffs on a four-game losing streak. The Nashville Predators head to the playoffs on a six-game losing streak. Somebody’s streak will end when the two sides clash on the NHL betting lines on Wednesday.
The Chicago Blackhawks Can Win Because…
Nashville has been a sinking ship throughout the second half of the season. This is a team that was 39-12-6 on February 17th but has since dropped 17 of 25 games. Their goaltending hasn’t been nearly the same as Pekka Rinne had a 1.96 GAA before the All-Star break but is up to 2.48 after it. During their current losing streak, they’ve been getting shredded as they’ve allowed 4.0 goals per game over their last six.
It’s also important to note the difference in standards between these two teams. The Predators were an awful team last season and had to fire their long-time coach Barry Trotz and make some wholesale changes. As for the Blackhawks, this is a team that’s been there before and has won it all. They know exactly what it’s going to take. It starts with taking the wind out of the Predators sails in Game 1.
The last reason to take the Hawks here is they’re expected to get Patrick Kane back in the lineup. He was the NHL’s leading scorer before he went down with an injury but now that he’s back, he’ll give this Blackhawks offense a boost. Chicago is in good shape for Game 1.
The Nashville Predators Can Win Because…
They were an excellent home team all season long. The Predators 28 home wins are the most in the Western Conference, which means having that home crowd behind them is a big deal.
While the Preds have had some issues in net recently, they’ll be happy to find that the Blackhawks have been in a world of hurt at the offensive end. Chicago has scored just five goals in their last four games and have been painstakingly bad since the All-Star break. Chicago has averaged just 2.23 goals per game since then, which is among the worst in the NHL. Only New Jersey, Buffalo, Toronto and Arizona have worse in that span.
The Blackhawks are in a funk and Nashville – playing at home – will extend that. That’s why you should consider them for your NHL picks in this spot.
Both teams hit the skids heading into the postseason but it looks like the Predators are in worse shape. We can expect the Blackhawks to kick it up a notch because they know how to flip that switch in the playoffs. And their offense should improve with Kane coming back. As for Nashville, that’s debatable. Rinne hasn’t looked the same for a while and it’s tough to expect that to change all of the sudden.
And don’t forget that Chicago has played well in this series. They won three of the four meetings this year and the three wins came when Nashville was playing well. With the Blackhawks being offered at a cheap price on the NHL odds, take a shot with them here.
NHL Pick: Blackhawks -101 at BetOnline