Tonight, the Nashville Predators have the opportunity to reach something that they have never done in the history of the franchise. There should be a purpose in their play tonight, a drive, a will to do something, GREAT. The Chicago Blackhawks are not just going to roll over and quit against the Predators. With the two days off between Game Three and Game Four, the Hawks are trying to do whatever is possible to win. They have called up three players (black aces) from Rockford (AHL), switched up their scoring lines, and are looking to do whatever is possible to push the series back to Chicago for Game Five. The Blackhawks have been quoted in recent days stating that the pressure is all on Nashville. While I do not agree with this statement 100%, I do agree that the Predators have never been in this situation before and will be seeking to dismiss their inter-division rival for the first time in the franchise’s history.
Success for Nashville
With all of the story-lines that this series has brought in thus far, there are some commonalities to lead Nashville to a win tonight. First, the JOFA line (Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson) must play well from the opening minute until the last second of the third period. This line has been able to produce offensively, yet also shutting down Toews, Kane, and Hossa. Second, Rinne needs to keep doing what he is doing. It was foolish to think that the Blackhawks would be shut out for this entire series, but if you would have been told that the Predators netminder would have a save-percentage of .979, 0.61 goals-against average, with two shutouts, you would have taken it. Finally, the Predators could use more offensive production from Ryan Ellis, Roman Josi, and PK Subban. They have played out-of-this-world defensively, but could really put Nashville over the top with some scoring.
More of Game Three
The Predators have been able to get their younger players to contribute whether it was Kevin Fiala’s game-winner in OT during Game Three.
Austin Watson has been thoroughly impressive with his ability to use his body and lay multiple hits per period against the Blackhawks. Watson leads the Predators in hits with 19 in the series and 6.3 per contest against Chicago. One major key to tonight’s match-up will be if any of the youth of this Preds roster makes an impact. If Game Three was any indication, look for the Predators to make a splash tonight.
The Nashville Predators will look to make history in front of their hometown fans tonight at Bridgestone Arena. For your viewing pleasure, Fox Sports-Tennessee will carry the game locally or you can catch it nationally on NBCSN. Radio coverage on 102.5 The Game begins at 6:00 pm tonight with the puck dropping at 7:00 pm!