Cleat Geeks

Stanley Cup Playoffs Preview: Nashville Predators vs. Chicago Blackhawks

chicago-blackhawks-vs-nashville-predators

Preview:
The Stanley Cup play-offs are finally here and the Chicago Blackhawks will open the first round against the Nashville Predators with Game 1 in Nashville on Wednesday evening. The Predators have been working under first-year coach Peter Laviolette. He is armed with a talented offensive and the deepest defensive group in the Western Conference. The Predators were the Western Conference’s best team for most of the regular season. They had a run of 10 wins in 13 games during the month of February and seemed unbeatable at times. The Predators finished the season 6-12-3 and 0-5-1 in their last six. The Blackhawks have had a difficult road this season with injuries. Not only that, they spent some time looking like a team that wouldn’t be a strong Stanley Cup contender. They entered the final 10 games of the season with a chance to win the Central Division, but fell short with a 4-6-0 run to wrap it up. Chicago is led by a group that has enjoyed major success together, including two Stanley Cup victories since 2010. This won’t be an easy series for the Blackhawks, but they might be catching Nashville at the right time. These two teams haven’t met since December 29th, the Blackhawks have gone 3-1-0 in the season series, but every game has been extremely close.

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Date      Result                 CHI 5v5 Corsi (%)        NSH 5v5 Corsi (%)
10/18     2-1 (OT) CHI       44 (56.2%)                     39 (43.8%)
10/23     3-2 NSH              46 (48.9%)                    48 (51.1%)
12/06     3-1 CHI                47 (48%)                       51 (52%)
12/29     5-4 (SO) CHI       50 (53.8%)                    43 (46.2%)

How the Predators win:
Goalie Pekka Rinne needs to regain his top form; he lost his last four starts while Nashville fell out of first place by finishing 0-4-2. The offense will need to outperform the Blackhawks if they want to win knowing that the Blackhawks tied with the Canadiens for the fewest goals allowed this season.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Nashville Predators

How the Blackhawks win:
The Blackhawks, as I mentioned before, won three of four against Nashville this season. The team that won the Cup in 2013 is pretty much still there. Patrick Kane was also cleared to play for Game 1, 5 weeks earlier than expected. This gives the Blackhawks a boost, if they even needed one.

KaneWristShot

Prediction:
Yes, the Predators were good all season and it would be great for Nashville fans to see this franchise make a serious run for the cup. The Predators will give Chicago a good run, but in the end the Blackhawks have the experience and the talent. I think the Blackhawks will win in 7.

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