One down. One to go. The Nashville Predators began their first back-to-back games of the season with a win in Winnipeg on Friday night 2-0. Pekka Rinne posted a shutout and was stellar in net versus a tough division opponent. With this win, the Predators are now 3-0-1 with 7 points on the season. This places them in sole possession of first place in the Central Division.
The Chicago Blackhawks are currently undefeated in regulation posting a 2-0-1 start. In their last game, the Blackhawks lost to the Calgary Flames 2-1. The Flames were outshot 50-18 but still hung on to the victory. The Blackhawks are currently being led in points by LW Patrick Sharp with 4 points. Offensively, the Blackhawks are stacked throughout their lineup with players like Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Duncan Keith.
Keys to watch
A rivalry renewed
There is no love lost between these two teams. Traditionally, when these teams meet, it is an extremely fast and physical matchup. The Predators, with their strong defensive play, and the ever-talented Chicago offense seems to be the making of another volatile matchup against these two Central Division rivals. With the new offense under Peter Laviollete, the Predators are looking to take the fight to Chicago.
Predators goalie selection
One key to watch going into the Jets game was whether Carter Hutton or Pekka Rinne would start. The choice to start Rinne over Hutton in game one of the back-to-back was pivotal in the Predators taking the win in Winnipeg. Early predictions are that Hutton will get his first start of the year against a tough offensive opponent in Chicago. Hutton has shown that he is a capable backup and ready for the challenge. With a career 2.63 GAA and a .909 SV%, Preds fans might be seeing Hutton in goal on Saturday night.
Early in this young season, Predator fans are already seeing the mighty struggles of the Preds on the Power Play. Out of 12 possible opportunities for the Preds, they have scored one goal. Yes. One goal. This is a 8.3 PP% and ranks the Predators 23rd in the NHL in this individual category. An emphasis has been been placed on the necessity of the PP and scoring goals with the man-advantage.
Please note that the game in Chicago has a 7:30 pm Central Time start. Predators fans can catch the game on FS-TN or on 102.5 The Game. If you live outside of the area, you can listen live on the 102.5 The Game app!