"Series" Preview: Blackhawks vs Predators, April 3rd, 2021

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“Series” Preview: Blackhawks vs Predators, April 3rd, 2021

Chicago Blackhawks

A one-off game hasn’t been all that common this season. The Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators open their “series” this afternoon in Nashville with the fourth and final spot in the Central Division playoff race on the line. Both teams have 39 points in the standings with each having 18 games left to play. The Predators hold the tiebreaker over the Blackhawks with more regulation wins this season, but the Blackhawks have an opportunity to put the Predators behind them with a win today. 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.

One-Timers

•   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.

•   Nashville’s Eeli Tolvanen has broken out recently, scoring nine points in his last seven games heading into Saturday’s contest. He has 18 points in 29 games this season, 14 of those points coming since March 1st.

•   Nashville’s goaltending this season against the Chicago Blackhawks has been the best they have seen all season. Juuse Saros has a .967 save percentage against Chicago this season in 2 appearances. It’s his best save percentage against any team this year, just .001 better than his save percentage against the Detroit Red Wings. As for Pekka Rinne, he has a .918 save percentage agains the Blackhawks this season, which is also his highest against any Central Division team in 2021.

Puck Drops and Broadcast Info

•   Saturday, April 3 at 2:00 p.m. CT
TV: NBCSCH, BSSO
Radio: WGN 720 AM / TUDN 1200 AM

Expected Lineups

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

Lankinen
Subban

Predators (19-18-1, 39 pts)

Tolvanen – Johansen – Arvidsson
Järnkrok – Granlund – Kunin
Cousins – Haula – Grimaldi
Trenin – Sissons – Olivier

Josi – Fabbro
Ekholm – Carrier
Harpur – Benning

Saros
Rinne

Tale of the Tape

Powerplay
Blackhawks: 26.7% (3rd)
Predators: 20.4% (16th)

Penalty-Kill
Blackhawks: 74.3% (26th)
Predators: 72.1% (31st)

Faceoffs
Blackhawks: 46.4% (28th)
Predators: 50.4% (15th)

Goals Per Game
Blackhawks: 2.82 (16th)
Predators: 2.45 (27th)

Goals Against Per Game
Blackhawks: 3.08 (22nd)
Predators: 2.97 (18th)

Top Scorer
Blackhawks: Patrick Kane – 13 goals, 36 assists, 49 points
Predators: Filip Forsberg – 11 goals, 18 assists, 29 points

Injury Report

Blackhawks:

Brent Seabrook (LTIR – Retirement)
Zack Smith (LTIR – Back)
Andrew Shaw (LTIR – Concussion)
Alex Nylander (LTIR  – Knee)
Jonathan Toews (LTIR – Illness)

Predators: 

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)

Keep An Eye Out For

Three Is A Magic Number. In three of the four meetings between the teams this season, all won by the Predators, the winning amount of goals needed has been three. Nashville has won three one-goal contests against the Blackhawks this season. The only game that the winning team, which again has been Nashville every time, didn’t score three goals was a 2-1 win for the Predators…where the teams scored three total goals together.

Perfect PK. In four games against the Predators this season, the Blackhawks are nine-for-nine on the penalty-kill. Chicago has been pretty poor on the penalty-kill this season, but have turned things around as of late. Over 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. (KNOCK ON WOOD)



Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.