Predators Game Day Preview: Chicago @ Nashville, Game 4

[SB Nation] - [Second City Hockey] - [ NHL] - [Chicago Tribune] - [Tennessean]

Tonight, the Nashville Predators have a chance to do something they've never done: put a team on the cusp of elimination in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. History shows that when a team goes up 3 games to 1, they have a 91.3 % chance of advancing to uncharted territory.

The problem? The Chicago Blackhawks are mad as hornets. They've been outscored, outworked, outhit, and out-goaltended. Tonight will be the biggest test of their character this season, and failure to respond would mean disaster. 

Ten thoughts on tonight's game:

  • Despite all the hullabaloo about Chicago's wonderful shot differential, the Predators put 35 shots on Antti Niemi compared to just 27 on Pekka Rinne in Game 3. Do that again and I'd bet the results are similar. 

  • Speaking of Pekka Rinne, remember how pundits said he had to be spectacular for Nashville to win? Gaaleaders_medium
  • David Legwand has been the best skater in this series, and its not close. He leads the series with 5 points (1 GWG, 4 assists), all while holding Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa to 2 points and a combined -6. 
  • While the Predators' power play still hasn't broken through, Game 3 was encouraging. They were able to hold the zone and generate good chances for extended periods.
  • I haven't been particularly impressed with the play of Jordin Tootoo. In fact, the only time I noticed him on Tuesday was when he missed a huge check in the offensive zone. A little disappointing for a player who had vastly improved his game early in the year. 
  • Signs are pointing to the Hawks' Brian Campbell playing tonight, which is a significant help in terms of breaking the Preds' "crazy good" forecheck. While I don't advocate injuring another player, a solid Shea Weber or Francis Bouillon check could be just what the doctor ordered to keep 'Soupy' off his game.
  • One advantage that some weren't anticipating at the beginning of the series is in the coaching department. Barry Trotz has (so far) outsmarted Joel Quenneville, showing a willingness to adapt as the game progresses. 
  • Hawks fans are calling on Chicago to bring more effort than Nashville tonight. If there's one thing I've learned, its that while the Predators will get outplayed or outclassed, they'll almost never get outworked. 
  • Joel Ward and Kevin Klein each recorded their first career playoff points on Tuesday (goal and assist respectively). Here's to more tonight. Also, in a bit of a strange one, Dan Hamhuis led all Preds in ice time. 
  • Finally, if you're headed to the game, the team needs an even stronger effort from the crowd tonight. They fed off your energy on Tuesday, but this is a wounded Hawks team that will be looking for blood from the get-go. Make noise, get on your feet, whatever- just bring it. 

Lineups

Nashville:

Forwards
Wilson - Arnott - Erat
Sullivan - Goc - Ward
Smithson - Legwand - Dumont
Tootoo - Spaling - Boyd
Defense
Suter - Weber
Hamhuis - Franson
Bouillon - Klein

Pekka Rinne

#35 / Goalie / Nashville Predators

6-5

206

Nov 03, 1982

GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2009 - Pekka Rinne 3 177 2 1 4 1.35 86 82 .953 0

Chicago:

Some changes, per SCH. Namely Ben Eager and Colin Fraser out, Adam Burish and Bryan Bickell in. 

Forwards
Bickell - Toews - Kane
Hossa - Sharp - Kopecky
Ladd - Bolland - Versteeg
Brouwer - Madden - Burish
Defense
Keith - Seabrook
Hjalmarsson - Byfuglien
Sopel - Hendry

Antti Niemi

#31 / Goalie / Chicago Blackhawks

6-2

210

Aug 29, 1983

GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2009 - Antti Niemi 3 179 1 2 82 2.01 82 76 .927 1

Fearless Prediction

I'm desperately trying to stay realistic when it comes to the result of this series. The problem? This team is playing the negativity right out of my mind. Its Joel Ward, Shea Weber, David Legwand, heck, even The Cube has earned a place in Preds lore at this point. Despite all my good feelings, however, doubts linger that the Predators can bring an identical effort tonight. Chicago 3, Nashville 2 (OT).

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join On the Forecheck

You must be a member of On the Forecheck to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at On the Forecheck. You should read them.

Join On the Forecheck

You must be a member of On the Forecheck to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at On the Forecheck. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9355_tracker