NHL Game of the Week
The game of the week in the NHL will feature the Nashville Predators traveling to Windy City Chicago to face off against the Blackhawks on Saturday night, March 27th at 8:00 pm EST.
The Blackhawks have had a surprising season; they currently sit at 16-13-5 on the season, totaling 37 points and currently sitting in the fourth and final playoff spot in the central division. Their core of young stars and crafty veterans has made for an interesting season for Chicago. Young star Alex Debrincat has 33 points with 16 goals and 17 assists with a +7 +/- while being on the first line with Patrick Kane. Speaking of Kane, he is having yet another incredible season as a first liner for the Blackhawks. Kane has a team-leading and third in the whole NHL total of 46 points on the season with 13 goals and 33 helpers to go along with his +6 +/-. The only problem for the Blackhawks is the fact that the team looks lost on the ice if the first line isn’t out there.
The whole first line for the Blackhawks all have a positive +/-, but as soon as you peak into the second and third lines, you see a major dip in production. Another major bright spot now and for the future of the team is the play of rookie goaltender Kevin Lankinen. Lank has put up a record of 12-11 with a .92 save percentage and 2.7 goals-against average; he leads all rookie goaltenders in those categories.
The Predators have had an up and down season as well, currently sitting in sixth place in the central division with a record of 16-17-1 totaling 33 points, only four points behind the Blackhawks in the standings. Filip Forsberg has been the only form of consistent production all season; he has 29 points with 11 goals and 12 helpers; while that sounds really good, his +/- is at -8 that is a shocking stat for the best player on your team to have.
Defenseman Roman Josi has come back from a two-week IR stint recovering from an upper-body injury and has totaled three points in two games since his return to the ice. Another wrinkle in the Preds season so far has been the volatility of their goalie play. Pekka Rinne has a record of 8-10 to go along with a .89 save percentage and a 3.0 goals-against average; all of those numbers are way higher than their career averages. Their backup goalie has been struggling but not as much as Rinne, but Juuse Saros has a record of 8-8 paired with a .92 save percentage and a 2.5 goals-against average so far this season.
These two teams have faced off twice so far this season, with the Predators taking both games by one goal. The under in this season series is 2-0, with both games totaling five or fewer goals. The odds and lines for this game opened with the Blackhawks favored by 1.5 goals with the over/under set at 5.5.
Don’t miss this 8:00 pm Saturday Night Hockey on March 27th between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Nashville Predators on your local NBC Sports channel or NHL League pass.