During the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Predators were in the exact spot that they are currently in against the Chicago Blackhawks. Against Anaheim, Nashville was up 2-0 coming home, but that lead evaporated quickly to push the series to a game seven. Nashville would eventually win the series to move on to the second round, but the Predators cannot make the same mistakes from the past. Chicago is a deep, talented roster with highly-skilled talent and can score on a dime. Granted, the Predators have shut them out two games in a row, but they can’t expect this every game from Pekka Rinne. If the Predators keep their level of play, they have seen the success that can come against a top-tier team. The Blackhawks aren’t scrubs and they have not forgotten how to play. Remain cautiously optimistic and hope for the best tonight. The Blackhawks are a great road team with a record of 24-13-4 on the away from the United Center during the regular season and had the most road wins in the Western Conference.
The Chicago Blackhawks could have goaltender Corey Crawford on a short leash tonight. The theme in goal-tending during game one was that Crawford was very good, but Rinne was better. The theme in game two was that Crawford was bad, and Rinne was great. During the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs, Corey Crawford struggled against Nashville, then Joel Quenneville brought in Scott Darling. Darling was spectacular and led the Blackhawks to their victories to go on to win the series 4-2. The Blackhawks would eventually win the Stanley Cup against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Scott Darling played well this season, appearing in 32 games, with a record of 27-18-0-5, 2.38 goals-against average, and .924 save percentage.
The Nashville Predators have seen scoring all across their various lines. From first line players such as Viktor Arvidsson to a fourth line player in Harry Zolnierczyk, the Preds are getting everyone involved. It is now time for the stars to put the pressure on the Blackhawks and get scoring from Filip Forsberg, PK Subban, and James Neal. These players are producing, playing great two-way hockey, and contributing on special teams, but they can always do more. If the Predators want to move to 3-0 in the series, Nashville needs their star players to step up and produce more than they have been up to this point.
The Predators will look to go up 3-0 on Chicago as they make it back to Bridgestone Arena tonight. Tonight’s game can also be seen on Fox Sports-Tennessee or nationally on CNBC. The game will be covered on 102.5 The Game. Puck drops at 8:30 pm so let’s stay up late with the Preds!