Nashville Predators vs. Chicago Blackhawks Game 5 Preview: Do or Die
Not much needs to be said about what needs to be done tonight in Nashville. The Predators have to win to keep this series alive.
Hopefully by now, everyone has recovered from the triple-overtime thriller the other night. There were a lot of good things to take away from Game 4. One of them being that Pekka Rinne looked like his old self, finally. Some of the things that did not look very good were the Corsi ratings for players on the Predators.
Almost the entire Predators' roster had a negative Corsi rating in Game 4. When you look on the flip side, Chicago only had four players who had a negative Corsi rating. You can't win games if you are constantly getting outshot.
The Chicago Blackhawks
We know all the story lines by now. Scott Darling has shined in net for the Hawks, and the Preds can't seem to get more than two goals in on him. In Game 4, Chicago dominated in even strength shot attempts (hence the player Corsi ratings above).
They really turned the heat up in the latter stages of the game. Specifically the three overtime periods.
Antoine Vermette finally scored his first goal since coming over to the Blackhawks. If Vermette starts to get going offensively, the Hawks could close this series out tonight in Nashville. With him starting to score, Chicago now would have three lines that can produce on a consistent level.
At this rate, we are all hoping that Shea Weber can make a comeback soon. Speaking of which....
The Nashville Predators
As of yesterday, this was the news on the return of Weber and Mike Fisher:
As of now, Mike Fisher and Shea Weber both remain day-to-day. Laviolette doesn't have an answer if they can play tomorrow. #Preds— Brooks Bratten (@brooksbratten) April 22, 2015
At this point, it really is a crap shoot on if they will play or not. After Game 3, I was convinced that the Preds needed Weber badly. But after Game 4, and the way Seth Jones stepped up, I think the Preds depth on defense helps fill that void. Now, I'm not saying the Preds can win the series without Weber, but they can, however, hold their own if need be.
Getting Fisher back would also prove a huge boost on offense for the Preds. Even though Nashville didn't do too hot in the Corsi section of the stats sheet, they generated more scoring opportunities, at even strength, than the Blackhawks did.
Not only would Fisher provide much needed depth to the offense, both special teams and even strength, but he is a great two-way forward that is solid on the defensive end as well.
If the Predators can get those two back, it could be huge for them. Now that Rinne is back to his old self (hopefully), the Preds are anything but dead in the water. They have to take it one game at a time, and it starts at home, tonight.
Sights And Sounds
You can catch the game on FS-TN locally, and on NBCSN nationally. The game will also be on 102.5 The Game radio for your listening pleasure. Put the coffee pot on, because we have another 8:30 pm CST puck drop tonight.