The Predators put together a well played game on Friday to tie the series up at one apiece. Now the series shifts to Chicago, and Nashville looks to get home ice advantage back. Through the first two games, Nashville, in my opinion, has outplayed the Blackhawks for the most part. With all of Chicago's talent, I don't expect to see that much dominance during the two games in Chicago.
Chicago will definitely be fired up to be back at home at the United Center. The Blackhawks need to clean up a few things before the game, and being at home will surely help in make those changes easier.
The Chicago Blackhawks
The biggest question in Chicago was who will be in net come game time. Will it be Corey Crawford or Scott Darling? We found out the answer to that question yesterday afternoon, but not before this statement from Jonathan Toews on Crawford:
And here is the official announcement from Scott Powers from ESPN Chicago:
Scott Darling will start Game 3 for the Blackhawks, Joel Quenneville announces.— Scott Powers (@ESPNChiPowers) April 18, 2015
On one hand, playing against Darling scares me. He had an epic game, to say the least, on Wednesday. On a bright note though, if Darling can't repeat that same performance in Game 3, Chicago is going to have bigger problems on their hands. And if he can repeat it, and prove that it wasn't a lucky game, well Chicago might be looking at a long run into the playoffs.
The Nashville Predators
Nashville has been getting great secondary scoring from the second and third lines so far in this series. Colin Wilson, yes that is right, COLIN WILSON, has three goal in the playoffs so far. Craig Smith scored two in the win on Friday. Filip Forsberg and Mike Santorelli also got in on the scoring in Game 2.
And if that wasn't enough, check out this stat that is hard to believe:
Crazy, right?!? The Preds, to me, have outplayed Chicago in these first two games. They pressured the puck well and were energized (minus the second period of Game 1) for every period. SInce Game 3 is in Chicago, I do expect a way better effort by the Blackhawks.
The big question is on defense for the Predators. Roman Josi has been arguably the best defender in the playoffs so far. And now with Shea Weber hurt, he will need to take on a bigger role and step up in a big way. And to make things worse, these tweets was ever so disheartening:
Shea Weber not making the trip to Chicago. That is not good news for the #Preds.— Robby Stanley (@RStanley247) April 18, 2015
Shea Weber out at least the next 2 games. Mike Fisher day-to-day and will travel to Chicago. #Preds— Thomas Willis (@TomAWillis) April 18, 2015
While we are talking about the defense, Seth Jones needs to play a lot better than he did on Friday as well. He made quite a few bad passes and decisions that could have cost the Preds, but fortunately, did not.
It will be interesting to see how Laviolette will pair up the defensemen in order to counter act the pace of play Chicago will undoubtedly bring in Game 3.
Editors note: This likely won't affect lineups for today's game, but it looks like Milwaukee is going to send up the Black Aces, now that their season is over.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ICYMI?src=hash">#ICYMI</a> Admirals Set To Send Nine To Nashville: <a href="http://t.co/AOHawaL5Oh">http://t.co/AOHawaL5Oh</a> via <a href="https://twitter.com/adsroundtable">@adsroundtable</a> <a href="http://t.co/4vdvk3t2n4">pic.twitter.com/4vdvk3t2n4</a></p>— Daniel Lavender (@DoctorAdmirals) <a href="https://twitter.com/DoctorAdmirals/status/589629915986796545">April 19, 2015</a></blockquote>
Sights And Sounds
We have an early start to this one as the puck drops at 2:00 pm CST. You can catch the game exclusively on NBC and listen to it on 102.5 The Game.