Chicago Blackhawks at Nashville Predators

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The Nashville Predators and Chicago Blackhawks have been in an intense race throughout the season for the final playoff spot in the Central Division. The two teams have gone back and forth in the standings and with only a few games left in the season, these games are going to be pivotal in deciding which of the two teams are going to make the playoffs. The Predators and the Blackhawks will face each other three more times this season and they should be exciting games, to say the least.

Chicago’s offense leads recent surge

The Blackhawks have won 21 of their 45 games this season but have won 4 of their last 6 games with a resurgence in their offense. The unit is scoring only 2.7 goals per game but in the recent 4-0 victory against the Red Wings, the Blackhawks found goals from the top line in Patrick Kane, who scored his 15th goal, Alex DeBrincat, who scored his 22nd goal, and Pius Suter, who scored his 12th goal on the season.

While the offense has turned a corner recently, the defense has struggled this season, allowing 3 goals per game. The trio of Connor Murphy, Duncan Keith, and Nikita Zadorov has played well, combining for 6.7 defensive point shares and 230 blocked shots but the backend of the unit has struggled. The bright spot, however, has been the goaltending with Malcolm Subban and Kevin Lankinen allowing 2.8 goals per game or fewer and saving more than .911 percent of shots.

Predators offense has struggled this season

The Predators have won 24 of their 46 games this season and have underachieved for the majority of the season. The main struggle for the Predators has been their offensive woes, scoring only 2.5 goals per game and constantly struggling to find the back of the net. Filip Forsberg, Calle Jarnkrok, and Mikael Granlund have 11 goals each while Viktor Arvidsson and Eeli Tolvanen have 10 goals each but the backend of the unit has struggled with nobody else scoring 10 goals or more on the season thus far.

While the offense has struggled, the defense has kept the team competitive, allowing only 2.8 goals per game. Mattias Ekholm has led the way with 2.9 defensive point shares and 41 blocked shots while Roman Josi, Matt Benning, and Dante Fabbro have combined for 5 defensive point shares. In addition, the Predators have gotten great play from goaltender Juuse Saros, who is allowing only 2.23 goals per game and is saving .928 percent of shots.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet

This is going to be a great game between two evenly matched teams. However, we can expect the Predators to control the majority of this game and bounce back after back-to-back losses. The Predators’ defense should be able to constantly eliminate the top-heavy Blackhawks offense with Roman Josi and Mattias Ekholm leading the way with the rest of the depth on the Predators defense continuing to play well. Likewise, the Predators should find the back of the net enough times with their top line breaking through with Filip Forsberg and Mikael Granlund finding scoring chances against a struggling Blackhawks defense. The Predators should be able to win this game with their defense leading the way.

Predators (-137)

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Full-Game Total Pick

The Blackhawks are coming off a 4 goal game and it’s easy to think that they will run up the score once again. The problem is that the Blackhawks played the Detriot Red Wings who have one of the worst defenses in the NHL and will now face a strong Nashville Predators defense. The Predators should be able to constantly eliminate the top line of the Blackhawks and potentially post a shutout with great play from all three defensive pairings. In addition, the Predators offense should be able to find the back of the net a few times with their top line but struggle for the majority of the game with the backend failing to generate any offense. Expect the Under to cover in this game with both offenses struggling and the Predators defense continuing to play well.

Under 5.5