The Nashville Predators are desperate to maintain their hold on the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central entering Friday’s game at the Chicago Blackhawks.
However, Nashville (25-21-2) has lost three of four, and its most recent collapse against Chicago is not a good sign. On Wednesday night, the Predators had a three-goal lead in the third period against the Blackhawks, but failed to hold it and lost in overtime.
The Chicago Blackhawks (22-20-5) have surprised the hockey world with their renaissance season. Blackhawks alternate captain Patrick Kane is third in the league with 58 points and has tallied a point in three consecutive contests. Let’s revisit Chicago’s four-goal comeback against Nashville.
The Blackhawks took a 1-0 lead early in the first period off a two-on-one opportunity converted by center Pius Suter. Chicago would not have the lead again until overtime. The Predators tied it up with 5:44 to go in the first, when Eeli Tolvanen lit the lamp on a brilliant wrap-around pass from Viktor Arvidsson.
Nashville scored twice more within the final six minutes of the second period, to go up 3-1 on Chicago. A beautiful wrister by the Predators’ Mikael Granlund with less than one second left in the second period seemed to seal the Hawks’ fate. The air left the United Center’s empty echoing shell, and Chicago fans everywhere collectively groaned.
Luke Kunin’s goal a mere 58 seconds into the third period appeared to be the final nail in the coffin. However, the Hawks hunkered down to score three times in the last 10 minutes of the third, tying the game. Chicago’s Brandon Hagel capped off the comeback 3:00 into OT with a top-shelf cookie that Juuse Saros couldn’t reach.
Malcolm Subban earned the win for the Blackhawks, stopping 36 of 40 shots. Subban and Saros are expected to lock horns again on Friday night, with NHL betting odds favoring the Predators slightly. This gives Chicago even more motivation.
Predators at Blackhawks: Betting Predictions
The Predators have both the Dallas Stars and the Blackhawks chasing them for the final playoff spot in the Central Division. Lately, Nashville has been buckling under the pressure, and this game has the feel of an old school horror movie. The Predators are the screaming girl who trips over a log in the forest while running from Jason Voorhees. We all know what happens next.
This is not Friday the 13th, but it is a Friday and Nashville is 0-5 in its last five Friday matchups. Chicago is 4-1 over its previous five games playing on one day’s rest. The Blackhawks’ moneyline and puck line are each excellent options here.
The Blackhawks are 12-8-2 at home this season, and the Predators are an under-.500 road team. Saros has enjoyed a great year for Nashville, but has now lost three of four. The Finnish goalie’s head is likely all messed up after choking away a three-goal lead in a high-pressure spot Wednesday. Chicago can clearly get to him, and it likely will.