Nashville Predators (1-0) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (0-2)
NHL: Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 8:30pm EST
Line: Chicago -135/Nashville +115
The Chicago Blackhawks will host the Nashville Predators in the back end of a home and home series Saturday night from the United Centre. The Predators edged the Blackhawks by a 3-2 score Friday night in a hard hitting affair. Chicago won the season series last year three games to two.
Predators Defeat Blackhawks on Three-Point Night from Johansen
The Nashville Predators started their season on a positive note, defeating the Blackhawks 3-2 behind a big night from Ryan Johansen. The 24-year old center notched three assists and saw 19 minutes of ice team in the win. The Predators are one of the stronger teams in the Western Conference, filled with young talent led by Filip Forsberg. The 22-year old right winger has quietly tallied 63 and 64 points respectively over the last two seasons and is poised to exceed those totals this season as he enters his third full season in the NHL. Forsberg will be playing alongside Ryan Johansen who put up 60 points last season, and Johansen is a guy that could also put up 80 points this year, giving the Predators a very potent first line. This Nashville team is a serious Cup contender this year with a very strong defensive unit. It will be interesting to see how P.K. Subban performs with his new team, and he has been paired with Roman Josi. Subban scored a goal in his first game as a Predator in the Friday night win, and his defense pairing Roman Josi recorded a goal and an assist.
Nashville scored an average of 2.73 goals per game last season, ranking them 12th in the NHL, and allowed 2.60 goals per game, placing them 14th overall.
Blackhawks Lose Two Straight to Start Season
The Chicago Blackhawks lost their second straight game to start the season in a very close game Friday night to Nashville. Overall it was a much better effort than their 5-2 home loss to the Blues Wednesday, and two losses is nothing to be concerned about. Chicago saw quite the roster turnover in the offseason, losing the likes of Andrew Shaw, Andrew Ladd, and Tuevo Teravainen up front, but they are still poised to compete once again. The Blackhawks are confident prospects Tyler Motte and Nick Schmaltz are ready to make the jump into everyday NHL players. One player to watch for is Artemi Panarin who in entering his second NHL season after dominating the KHL in Russia in year’s past. The 24-year old left winger won the Calder Trophy last year as the NHL’s top rookie after scoring 30 goals with 47 assists. Panarin plays on a line with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov, and is pointless through the first two games. The Blackhawks feature a great defensive unit led by Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, and GM Stan Bowman added veteran defenseman Brian Campbell who played for the Blackhawks from 2008 to 2010.
The Blackhawks were very productive again last season, averaging 2.85 goals per game, good for sixth in the NHL. Chicago was solid defensively as well, allowing an average of 2.52 goals per game, ranking them 10th overall.
The Nashville Predators are:
- 0-4 in their last 4 road games.
- 0-4 in their last 4 Saturday games.
The Chicago Blackhawks are:
- 8-3 in their last 11 games when playing their third game in four nights.
- 12-5 in their last 17 Saturday games.
- 7-1 in their last 8 home games against Nashville.
I am taking the Blackhawks in this contest. I can’t see the Blackhawks losing three straight to start the season, and the home end of a back to back set against Nashville. The Blackhawks only lost 15 home games all season last year, and they usually take care of business at home against Nashville, winning seven out of their last eight home games against the Predators. Patrick Kane has been held pointless for the first two games, and I doubt that he goes three games without recording a point.