Night one after the Christmas break was a HUGE success for the Nashville Predators as they defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1. The key to the success for the Preds was the Powerplay on Saturday night. (Surprising, I know.) The Preds got power play goals from Filip Forsberg (1st-09:41), Mike Fisher (2nd-13:57), and Colin Wilson (2nd-14:35). Colin Wilson got his 2nd of the game in the 3rd at 16:42 (EN). This was Wilson’s 10th of the season.
Tonight, the Preds travel to Chicago to take on the Blackhawks at 7:30 CST at the United Center.
The Chicago Blackhawks (24-10-2), in their last outing, beat the Colorado Avalanche by score of 5-2. Patrick Kane had two goals and an assist in their win. The Blackhawks rallied from a 2-1 deficit to come up with the win.
The Blackhawks are being dominated in most statistical categories by Patrick Kane. Kane leads the team in goals (18), assists (21), and total points (39).
Starting in goal for the Blackhawks tonight will be Corey Crawford. Crawford has been excellent in goal this season for Chicago. On the season, Crawford is 13-6-2 with 2.00 GAA and .923 SV%.
Keys to Watch
1st Place at Stake
Tonight’s matchup will determine 1st place in the Central Division. Currently, Chicago has the lead, yet they have played two more games than Nashville. Chicago has 50 points, Nashville has 48 points. This will be the last time these two teams will meet in the regular season in 2014-15. On the season series, Chicago has won 2 out of 3, so the Preds need to come out of Chicago with a “W”.
Colin Wilson is on fire!
At the beginning of the season, Colin Wilson seemed to struggle in the new system of Coach Peter Laviolette. Whatever the case might have been, he has remedied the earlier problems. Over the last 18 games, Wilson has been a one man wrecking crew. In the last 18 games, Colin Wilson has amassed 14 points, nine goals and five assists. He is also the fourth Pred to reach double digits in goals and has a total of 18 points on the season. Wilson’s ability to drive towards the net has been a key to his success in this new system. Look for him to continue his ongoing scoring ability as he focuses on his presence in front of the opposing goalie.
Keeping Kane in Check
Averaging 19:56 each game on ice, Patrick Kane is the glue that holds the Chicago offense together. Kane has 114 shots on net with 18 goals and 21 assists on the season. A plus/minus of +10, Kane also does an excellent job of staying out of the penalty box. On the season, Kane only has two minutes in the box and is the driving force on both special-teams. The Nashville Predators need to keep Patrick Kane in check tonight in order to succeed in Chicago. If Kane begins to get offensively productive, the Nashville Predators will struggle.
This matchup tonight is going to be a slug fest. When these two teams come together, there is always a tendency to come out hyped up. The Central division will be on display tonight as two of the division’s best will go head-to-head. Tonight’s matchup can be seen on FS-Tennessee or you can listen live on 102.5 The Game.