Game Preview: Nashville Predators @ Chicago Blackhawks 3/4/23

Battle in the basement.

The Nashville Predators take on the Chicago Blackhawks tonight. Both teams sold some significant pieces before the deadlines, leaving tonight’s game a going-through-the-motions sort of affair that they will, inevitably, both get coached to win.

The Blackhawks actually strung five wins together in late February, but are back to struggling now. Their top two scorers have been traded. Jonathan Toews, who’s on IR, and Seth Jones, who is still with the team and active, were tied for third and are currently tied for the scoring lead, with 28 points. Taylor Raddhysh, now second in points, and Andreas Athanasiou are the goalscoring leaders with 14; Jones’s 21 assists lead the team.

Alex Stalock has done well in goal, putting up a .915 sv% despite playing behind a bad defense, but Petr Mrázek has had a rougher time. The offense is considerably worse than the defense, though, struggling to get anything done at any strength even before they traded some of their best offensive forwards.

In short, this game might be painful.

Here are some things that aren’t:

  • Since returning from injury, Alexandre Carrier has gotten right back to having a strongly positive impact on the flow of the game.
  • Philip Tomasino has also been having a fantastic run recently.
  • Kiefer Sherwood and (small sample size alert for real) Luke Evangelista lead the Preds in individual expected goals per hour over the past two weeks, according to Natural Stat Trick’s model—they’ve been doing great with the chances they’ve gotten so far.
  • Juuso Pärssinen isn’t back yet, unless they announce it later today, but when he returns he’s also been playing great and fun hockey.
  • Roman Josi is always fun to watch.
  • Juuse Saros and Kevin Lankinen have both been doing their utmost, and we might get one or two good highlight-reel saves today anyway./

How to Watch

The game airs at 7PM Central/8PM Eastern on Bally Sports South and 102.5 The Game.