Game Preview: Nashville Predators @ Chicago Blackhawks 12/21/22

How To Watch

Puck Drop: 7:30 PM CST
Location: United Center - Chicago, IL
TV: Bally Sports South
Radio: 102.5 The Game
Blackhawks SB Nation Site: Second City Hockey

What to Watch For

We just witnessed the Preds play their best game in a very long time, a 4-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers that saw Nashville utterly dominate Edmonton towards the end of the game. The million-dollar question is: was that performance a one-off, or is it the spark that gets the season going?

The Preds have the perfect opponent to try and continue that momentum. The Chicago Blackhawks are a shell of the team that dominated the Central Division throughout the 2010s, and somehow, they might be even be shell of last year’s team that finished third-to-last in the West. Chicago is 7-19-4, dead-last in the NHL, and have lost their last seven games. The lineup that’s historically been packed with weapons is now the worst scoring team in the NHL, and even Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are way down from their normal scoring paces.

Of course, given the Preds’ recent struggles of their own, we should avoid counting our chickens before they hatch. This is still a division rivalry, and the Preds still need to prove they can have performances like the one they had Monday on a consistent basis.

Can the Preds keep their foot on the gas and take advantage of a feeble Blackhawks team? If they can, and they carry that momentum towards a good performance Friday, we’re suddenly entering a Christmas break with a different mindset than we would have just a few days ago. But if the Preds sleepwalk through this game and pick up an embarrassing loss, we’re back to square one.

Player to Watch

Tanner Jeannot

This has been a frustrating season for Jeannot scoring-wise, going from 24 goals last season to being on pace for just 9 this year. But when you watch his past few games, you just get the sense that the floodgates might open. Jeannot is doing almost everything right except finishing, and considering his line (which also featured Cody Glass and Nino Niederreiter) was perhaps the best on Monday, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Jeannot get plenty of chances against the Blackhawks tonight.