Nashville Predators vs. Chicago Blackhawks Preview: Home, Sweet Home

“Please play better this time,” —Robin Lehner, probably

Take me to your heart. Feel me in your bones.  Just one more night, and I’m coming off this long and winding road.  I’m on my way... I’M ON MY WAYYYYYYY...

Home, sweet home.

Yep, there’s hockey at Bridgestone Arena tonight for the first time in two weeks!  The Predators are hosting everyone’s favorite bunch of Chelsea-Daggering rascals, the Chicago Blackhawks.  Let’s get right to it.

The Matchup

These two played each other back on October 30th in what — no hyperbole — may have been Nashville’s best all-around game in years.  The Preds had a total of 87 (!!!) shot attempts during the game, 70 of them coming 5-on-5.  The Preds won that 3-0; Robin Lehner, you still deserve a fruit basket.

But since then, things haven’t gone as smoothly for Nashville.  The Preds have gone 1-3-2 since the Chicago game, and the stretch has featured a few particularly rough moments, like a 3rd period meltdown against Calgary, and a 9-4 catastrophe against Colorado.

In a weird twist from the past few seasons, it’s been the offense carrying the Predators this season.  The team still ranks second in the league in goals per game (across all strengths) and seventh in terms of 5-on-5 shot attempts.  In particular, Filip Forsberg is starting to look like... well... “Scoresberg.”  He has a four-game goal scoring streak, and has six points in the six games since returning from injury.  I know it’s early, but this really feels like this is finally Forsberg’s real break-out year into the NHL elite.  (Just please stay healthy.)

On the other side, Chicago’s been... okay-ish since that October 30 game.  They’re 4-1-2, but they have impressive wins over teams like Vancouver and Vegas in that stretch.  They’ve gotten some really good play from aforementioned fruit basket recipient Lehner, including a 53-save performance in a win over Toronto last Sunday.

As our frenemies at Second City Hockey have pointed out, coach Jeremy Colliton has made some major changes to the Hawks’ style of play, which has paid off on the scoresheet as of late.  Patrick Kane and Dylan Strome have been money since being put on the same line a couple of weeks back.  Kane has 14 points in his past seven games, while Strome has eight in his past four.  And after a slow start, Alex DeBrincat has found some rhythm as well, with five assists in his past two games.

These are two teams who (intentional or not) are playing a high-risk, high-reward style right now, so if you’re a fan of sound, defensive hockey... maybe turn the TV off and spend your Saturday night on the town.

Three Reasons to Watch

  1. Lots o’ scoring = Good Chance of Frostys
  2. It’s a rivalry game on Saturday night
  3. What else are you going to watch, Big 12 football? Pfft.

Tonight’s Song to Get You HYPPPPPEEEEEEDDDDD

The Preds are back after a road trip, and I’ve already used Motley Crue, so let’s throw it back to Nick’s angsty teenage years.

How to Watch

Game time for tonight is 7:00 P.M. CST.  If you’re in the Nashville area, you can watch on Fox Sports Tennessee or listen in on 102.5 The Game.  For folks out of town, the game is also on ESPN+ (if you don’t have it, you can get it here).

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