Game Preview: Nashville Predators @ Chicago Blackhawks 11/7/21

The Preds’ road trip continues.

The Nashville Predators continue their road trip today, facing off against the Chicago Blackhawks in the Windy City.

The Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks fired Head Coach Jeremy Colliton yesterday, after a month over which the team’s play deteriorated from last season’s “very bad” all the way to “extremely bad”. Colliton can at least take the personal comfort of just having been fired for not being great as a hockey coach.

I don’t like talking down the opposition in game previews—it always feels a little rude and a lot like a jinx—but there’s really no honest way to describe the Blackhawks’ play that isn’t “they’ve been awful.” I shared this in this morning’s D&C, but it could stand another look:

The Blackhawks are 1-9-2, with their sole victory so far this season a 5-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. Patrick Kane leads the team in points with 11, despite missing four games, while Alex DeBrincat has the lead in goals with 6 and Seth Jones has contributed a team-leading 10 assists.

New starting goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has had a rough season, allowing a lot of goals he didn’t need to; he and backup Kevin Lankinen have effectively identical .881 and .882 sv%s on the season.

The Blackhawks have done decently well on special teams, with above-average PP and PK performance backed up by their play, and this game is unfortunately likely to feature a fair bit of special teams play—it will favor the Preds to avoid that, since the Blackhawks have been both bad and unlucky, at both ends of the ice, at 5v5 this season.

The Nashville Predators

Filip Forsberg remains out with his week-to-week injury; we don’t know yet whether Mark Borowiecki will return tonight.

The Preds managed to put together a win on Friday against the Vancouver Canucks with the forwards they had, which was good and encouraging; getting big contributions from Ryan Johansen and Matt Duchene, especially when they were playing on different lines and forcing the opponents to defend separately against scoring threats.

It seems likely that Juuse Saros will get the start tonight.

A Quick Pre-Game Note

There’s a lot of outrage against and disgust with the Blackhawks this season. It’s important at times like these to remember that it’s a hockey game, not a lawsuit or trial by combat. If the Preds win and you get extra satisfaction from thinking about them contributing to the organization’s problems, by all means have fun, but if they lose, it’s important to remember that it’s just entertainment.

Reasons to Watch

  • It’s a favorable matchup for the Preds, and we could see some great performances from some of the forwards.
  • What else are you doing with your Sunday night?/

How to Watch

Puck drop is at 6 PM. The game will air on Bally Sports South and on 102.5 The Game.