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Nashville Predators @ Chicago Blackhawks Preview: I’ll Be Coming For Your Love, OK?

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This game is highly anticipated for both Chicago and Nashville. The Blackhawks can’t wait to beat up on the Predators after they were hilariously swept out of the 2017 playoffs in the first round. Hopefully, they don’t take their anger to a new level and score a ridiculous number of goals on Pekka Rinne like they did on Pittsburgh last week.

Personally, I am looking forward to Chicago’s arrival at Bridgestone arena next month—you can bet there will be a ton of brooms and many taunts.

The last time we saw the Blackhawks, they were sadly staring at the Bridgestone scoreboard as gold-clad fans screamed their lungs out in sheer elation.

Since then, sweeping changes (see what I did there?) in Chicago’s coaching staff and bench have re-invented this familiar team into a different version of the same villain.

The Blackhawks have started off the season with some wins, but dropped their most recent contest against Minnesota on Thursday. They are looking to make the Predators work for a victory in the Windy City.

The Chicago Blackhawks

After being swept by the Predators, GM Stan Bowman promised there would be changes on and behind the bench.

And changes there were.

He replaced most of the assistant coaches under Joel Quenneville. A blockbuster trade with Columbus sent scoring winger Artemi Panarin (and Tyler Motte) to the Blue Jackets in return for Brandon Saad and backup goalie Anton Forsberg. However, Bowman wasn’t done.

He sent Nicklas Hjalmarsson to Arizona for Connor Murphy, and Trevor van Reimsdyk was taken by Vegas in the expansion draft. Scott Darling grabbed a starting goaltender gig in Carolina, and Johnny Oduya left in free agency. Stars forward Patrick Sharp signed with Chicago when he became a free agent this summer. Brian Campbell retired.

Rookie Alex DeBrincat scored his first goal against Montreal earlier this week. He could become dangerous if placed with the right teammates.

Our friends at Second City Hockey wrote a summary article here about Chicago’s overhaul. It’s worth a read if your head is spinning from all the changes in Chicago.

The Nashville Predators

The Predators have enjoyed some home cooking this week, completing an improbable comeback against Philadelphia and putting forth a complete effort against Dallas.

The Preds need another big W tonight against the powerhouse Blackhawks. Put some goals behind Crawford and remain defensively sound. And don’t take dumb penalties. Easy, yes?

The golden boys pulled off a major win against the Dallas Stars on Thursday, playing a solid game that saw youngster Samuel Girard pick up his first NHL goal.

However, a high hit on Yannick Weber forced the Swiss d-man down the tunnel and the Preds were forced to play with five defensemen for the remainder of the evening. His return, along with Jarnkrok’s, is questionable.

Roman Josi and Colton Sissons could re-join the lineup tonight. If not, Nashville’s depth at center and on defense will certainly be tested.

I’m really liking the chemistry of the Hartnell-Bonino-Aberg line, and it looks like the Predators are finding ways to make big plays even in less-than-ideal circumstances.

As much as Dallas was a test for the Predators because of Dallas’s huge amount of roster moves, playing the Blackhawks will be an even more polarizing game.

Memories and Feelings AKA “The Feels”

1. #sweep

2. Harry Zolnierczyk’s face when he scored on Crawford in Game 1.

3. Viktor Arvidsson’s first goal of the game and the Arvi celly.

4. Kevin Fiala’s Game 3 OT goal that nearly made Bridgestone explode:

4. See below:

The Nashville Predators and Chicago Blackhawks shake hands after the 2017 first round sweep.

Reasons to Watch

  • Chicago is sure to be salty.
  • Will Roman Josi or Colton Sissons be able to re-enter the lineup? What about Yannick Weber or Calle Jarnkrok?
  • Who is the newest injured Predator?
  • Sam Girard (AKA Samwise AKA The Girardian of the Galaxy)
  • Will Kevin Fiala get his first goal tonight? He’s about to catch fire.
  • I don’t want to hear “Chelsea Dagger” at all, and the Preds proved in May that it’s possible to play a game in the United Center without hearing that dumb song.

Tonight’s Theme Song

Tonight’s theme music was carefully chosen...mostly because my boss got it stuck in my head: “Take on Me” by a-ha.

How to Watch

Puck drop is at 7:30 in Chicago! Catch the action on Fox Sports-TN or tune in to 102.5 The Game.