The Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators face off in the first round of the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs for the third time in their team’s histories. The Central Division rivals should provide fans with a rough and tumble series full of action and excitement when they drop the puck on Game one at Chicago’s United Center on Thursday, April 13th at 7pm CT. Game two, also from Chicago goes down Saturday, April 15th at 7pm CT. The series then switches to Nashville for games three and four on Monday, April 17th and Thursday, April 20th. Game times are still to be determined on both those contests. Should the series go the distance, games five, six and seven will go down Saturday, April 22nd, Monday, April 24th and Wednesday, April 26th.
The season series has been a lopsided affair with the Hawks claiming four of the five games between the two teams and picking up 8 of a possible 10 points. While they were outshot 163 to 138 across the five games, the Blackhawks outscored the Predators 20-13 and boasted a power play with a remarkable 40% effectiveness rating. One thing’s for sure, if the Preds expect to have any form of success in the playoffs, they’ll first have to do a better job of shutting down the Hawks’ potent offence with the man advantage.
Historically the Blackhawks have proven to be too strong an opponent for the Predators in previous playoff matchups. In both 2010 and 2015 the Blackhawks cruised to 4-2 victories en route to eventually claiming the season’s ultimate prize: the Stanley Cup. This version of the Predators is a bit different however, with more of an emphasis on youth and speed than the teams the Blackhawks have seen in playoff action before. Whether the Preds can finally break through and beat the Hawks remains to be seen, but at the very least it’ll be fun to watch them try.
Puck drops Thursday!