Chicago Blackhawks-Nashville Predators: Playoff Series By The Numbers
By Sean Fitzgerald
A lot of hockey comes down to numbers, and that’s what we’re going to look at today with the Chicago Blackhawks, Nashville Predators and their first-round Stanley Cup Playoffs series
The Chicago Blackhawks will take on the Nashville Predators for a third time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs starting Thursday. With NHL being based on numbers and analytics, this post will touch on the “important numbers” for both teams.
Among them: the head-to-head record of both teams, the goals for and against, the goalie comparison and many others. In the playoffs, records in the regular season are irrelevant but leaned on heavily when predictions are being made.
Regular-season head-to-head record
The Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators are Central Division rivals and squared off several times a year. This season, they played each five times this season.
The Blackhawks came away with four wins and one loss. The Blackhawks’ lone loss came on October 14 by a 3-2 margin. This was the second game of the Blackhawks’ season.
Historically, the Blackhawks also own the series record lead, 55-38-4.
2016-17 win-loss: 4-1 Blackhawks
Historical: 55-38-4 Blackhawks
Goals for and against
In their five matchups this season, the Blackhawks scored 20 goals and allowed only 13 to the Predators. That breaks down to an average of 4.00 goals for per game and 2.60 goals allowed.
Historically during the regular season, the Blackhawks and Predators play close games. It is 304 goals for the Blackhawks and 300 against. That breaks down to an average of 2.90 goals scored and 2.86 goals allowed.
2016-17 goals for: 20
2016-17 goals allowed: 13
Historical: 304 Blackhawks goals for and 300 goals allowed
Special teams are crucial in the playoffs. A team’s ability to convert on special teams usually determines the outcome of the series.
The Nashville Predators have put together a better season on special teams than the Blackhawks this year. The Predators rank 16th in the NHL on the powerplay with a 18.9 percent conversion rate, while the Blackhawks rank 19th with a 18.0 percent success rate. This stat could be misleading, as Buffalo led the league with a 24.5 percent success rate and isn’t in the playoffs.
As any Blackhawks fan knows, the team has struggled recently on the penalty kill. The Blackhawks are ranked 24th out of 30 NHL teams with a 77.7 percent conversion rate on the PK. The Predators are ranked 15th with a 80.9 percent conversion percentage.
Nashville: 18 percent
Chicago: 16 percent
2016-17 penalty kill
Nashville: 80.9 percent
Chicago: 77.7 percent
The Blackhawks outrank the Predators in some of the important advanced stats. In goals for percentage, the ’Hawks rank fifth at 54.667, while Nashville checks in at ninth (53 percent). In Corsi-for percentage (possession), Nashville’s 51.42 mark (sixth in the league) outranks the Blackhawks’ 50.43 (12th). If you are interested in a deeper dive in advanced stats, check out Puckalytics.
Next: Get Your Printable Stanley Cup Playoff Bracket
The most important numbers, however, are in playoffs — both when the Blackhawks face the Nashville Predators, and in general. The Blackhawks have a 2-0 series win record against the Predators, and this core has won three Stanley Cups to Nashville’s zero.