The Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators are tied for the fourth and final spot in the Central Division playoff race. After today, one team will be in the lead with just 17 games left to play. Both teams hold a three-point lead over the Columbus Blue Jackets and a five-point lead over the Dallas Stars, both of whom are also in action later today.
After four head-to-head matchups this season, Chicago (0-2-2) is still looking for their first win over the Predators this season. Both teams have 39 points in the standings, but the Predators hold the tiebreaker over the Blackhawks with more regulation wins this season.
Puck Drop: 2:00 p.m. CT
TV: NBCSCH, BSSO
Radio: WGN 720 AM / TUDN 1200 AM
Blackhawks (17-16-5, 39 pts)
DeBrincat – Dach – Kane
Kubalík – Kämpf – Kurashev
Janmark – Suter – Strome
Highmore – Söderberg – Carpenter
Keith – Boqvist
de Haan – Kalynuk
Zadorov – Murphy
Predators (19-18-1, 39 pts)
Tolvanen – Johansen – Arvidsson
Järnkrok – Granlund – Kunin
Cousins – Haula – Grimaldi
Trenin – Sissons – Olivier
Josi – Fabbro
Ekholm – Carrier
Harpur – Benning
Brent Seabrook (LTIR – Retirement)
Zack Smith (LTIR – Back)
Andrew Shaw (LTIR – Concussion)
Alex Nylander (LTIR – Knee)
Jonathan Toews (LTIR – Illness)
Filip Forsberg (Week-to-week – Upper Body)
Brad Richardson (Day-to-day – Lower Body)
Mark Borowiecki (Week-to-week – Upper Body)
Matt Duchene (Day-to-day – Lower Body)
Ryan Ellis (Week-to-week – Upper Body)
Luca Sbisa (Day-to-day – Upper Body)
The Blackhawks are +1.5 point underdogs against the Predators today, and find themselves at +110 on the moneyline according to the DraftKings Illinois Sportsbook. You can go right here to sign up and make a bet.
What To Watch For
• Special team will be a key for the Blackhawks to find success and their first win over the Predators this season. Chicago boasts the league’s third-best powerplay and will be going against the league’s worst penalty-kill unit as the Predators have just a 72.1% kill-rate this season. On the flip-side, in four games against the Predators this season, the Blackhawks are nine-for-nine on the penalty-kill. Overall in their last five games, the Blackhawks have been a perfect nine-for-nine on the penalty-kill, including only taking one or no penalties in their last four games.
• Patrick Kane had a five-game point streak snapped in his last outing against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Blackhawks need him to get back on the pace we had seen from him earlier this season when he was right in the middle of league MVP talks. Those talks have fizzled and so has Kane (based on his standards). While he has 18 points since February 28th when he scored his 400th career goal, he’s only scored two goals since that game. If Chicago is going to grab a hold the Central Division’s fourth playoff spot, they’ll need Kane to start finding the back of the net again.
• Alex DeBrincat has been picking up where Kane has left off in goal-scoring this season. His 19 goals lead the Blackhawks and are tied for fourth in the NHL, behind Mikko Rantanen, Connor McDavid, and Auston Matthews. Since February 2nd, DeBrincat is second in the league with 17 goals, just one behind Matthews.
Get Caught Up …
Colliton on DeBrincat-Dach-Kane: "They're going to play together, where it's some of the shifts or all of the shifts."
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) April 2, 2021
Philipp Kurashev being moved to the taxi squad today is just a transactional requirement with adding Vinnie Hinostroza to the roster, according to a source. Hinostroza can be put on the COVID protocol list tomorrow. I expect Kurashev to be in the lineup for tomorrow’s game.
— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) April 3, 2021
Colliton has no specifics on Brandon Hagel, other than the fact he's in COVID protocol.
— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) April 2, 2021
— Blackhawks Talk (@NBCSBlackhawks) April 3, 2021