NHL Playoff Odds Chicago Blackhawks at Nashville Predators

21 Avril, 2017, 16:38 | Author: Marie-Claire Cellier
  • NHL Chicago Blackhawks at Toronto Maple Leafs

The 20-year-old forward was playing on the fourth line and had just one goal in 18 career National Hockey League games before Saturday's payoff.

To say the Blackhawks have been outplayed is an understatement. "When a goalie's feeling it, it's not the hardest save for a goalie".

"There's got to be more desperation".

Let's not blame this 0-2 deficit completely on the Hawks' play, Nashville's Pekka Rinne has been phenomenal. He hasn't been great so far, but it's no surprise as he's far from the biggest culprit in the team's struggles.

Ryan Johansen? Capitalizing on a Chicago line change, Filip Forsberg found Johansen breaking into the zone and simply lobbed the puck towards him from behind the net. "Just worry about that first shift and go from there". Anisimov had a few chances around the net where he wasn't able to cleanly strike the puck.

And in this series he's looked like the 2010 superstar version of himself. It's a lot to ask for, but when the system works and the puck bounces the right way it's a glorious thing to watch unfold.

The Predators' scoring outburst stunned Blackhawks fans, who rained boos after Johansen made it 4-0 with 6:09 to go in the third period. Yes, it's time for the Blackhawks to dig deep into their vast reservoir of badassness and find that next gear.

After re-watching the first period, Schmaltz wasn't good, but he wasn't that much worse than other Blackhawks.

Polak put no weight on his right leg as he was helped off, and his absence further depleted a blue line that was already without top-pairing defenseman Nikita Zaitsev. The Predators then started to suffocate the Hawks' offense, allowing just four shots on goal over the final 17 minutes of the period. A few pipes were rung throughout the contest, notably with Jonathan Toews barely missing the net shortly after the game began.

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Four of the Predators five goals against Corey Crawford all came from slot, with Kevin Fiala's powerplay marker late in regulation coming to Crawford's high blocker side - normally one of his strongest areas. The good news is both of them led the team on the road in Nashville this season, combining for five goals and seven points in three games. The Sharks will look to even the series as the teams tangle in Game 4 on Tuesday night at SAP Center. That would take Hartman away from Hossa and Marcus Kruger, and that line has been effective too. Clark MacArthur scored the opening goal for the Senators. And now, across the seven times the two teams have met this campaign, there's not a single major advanced statistical category in which the Blackhawks have the edge.

What's more, the Predators have played with the kind of defensive structure and discipline they lacked at times during a 41-29-12 regular season.

Remember, last year's playoff run started pretty much the same way.

Toews hasn't scored in his last 10 playoff games.

Another way the Hawks could combat the blocks is to attempt shot fakes.

Toews' game obviously isn't all about goals, but he has provided scoring for the Blackhawks when they've been successful in the playoffs.

The past four playoff meetings between the Blackhawks and the Predators in Nashville have also gone over the total at the sportsbooks. Zaitsev's return from an upper-body injury is a critical one for the Maple Leafs, who have lost fellow blueliner Roman Polak (lower body) for the rest of the season. Game 1 was easy to write off. He's fast and has a scoring touch.

Frustrations boiled over for the Blackhawks, who led the Western Conference with 109 points during the regular season.

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