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10/29 Game Preview: Chicago Blackhawks vs. Predators

NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 6: Calle Jarnkrok #19 of the Nashville Predators battles for the puck against Alex DeBrincat #12 of the Chicago Blackhawks at Bridgestone Arena on April 6, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 6: Calle Jarnkrok #19 of the Nashville Predators battles for the puck against Alex DeBrincat #12 of the Chicago Blackhawks at Bridgestone Arena on April 6, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Tonight, the Chicago Blackhawks travel to Nashville to faceoff against division rival, Nashville Predators.

The Chicago Blackhawks recently just ended a seven-game homestand where they won only two of those games. After a road loss to the Hurricanes, and then, a win Sunday against the Kings, the team travels to Nashville.

The Blackhawks are 1-3-1 in their last five games and there hasn’t been much for fans to cheer about as of late. With 10 games played in the young season, the Blackhawks currently sit in last place of the Central Division. The Predators are currently in second place, which if the season ended today, is a playoff spot.

If the Blackhawks win tonight, they’d move up to fifth in the division. It’s early in the season, but it’s never too early to gain momentum towards a playoff spot.

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After a rough homestand, where they failed to take advantage, the Blackhawks went on the road and lost to Carolina. However, they did go back home Sunday and beat the Kings 5-1. Now, they have to build on the momentum from that game.

For the Blackhawks, Dylan Strome was on fire in the team’s last game. Strome scored two goals in Sunday’s win against the Kings. His linemate, and real-life best friend, Alex DeBrincat also had a great game, putting up three points in the win. Both of these players need to stick together on the same line. They’re better together, they gel well.

Kirby Dach has surprised many with his play thus far, including me. Patrick Kane and Dach are starting to build some chemistry, but on Sunday, they were separated for most of the game. Tonight, in Nashville, it would be good to either have Kane with Dach again or back with Jonathan Toews.

Right now, the impact players for the Chicago Blackhawks are Brandon SaadStrome, and DeBrincat. They have been a force that’s helped the team win when they’re on fire.

After signing his first contract extension, DeBrincat went on a cold streak to start the 2019-20 season. He seems to be trending in the right direction after his 3 point performance on Sunday. The real test tonight will be getting pucks past Pekka Rinne.

For the Predators, Rinne hasn’t lost a single start in regulation. It would be perfect to be the first team to beat him in regulation. The Predators have been very successful against the Blackhawks since their 2017 playoff sweep.

Their most recent win was against the Tampa Bay Lightning, 3-2 in overtime. They won that game without some key players, like Matt Duchene. The second-place Predators have played their best hockey with Rinne in net, but they’ve struggled without him. As a Blackhawks fan, I want to beat their best players which would include their starting goalie, Pekka Rinne.

The Blackhawks need to score early and keep the pressure on Rinne. They can’t play goal-for-goal and expect to win. When it comes down to crunch time, Rinne has been solid this year.

The current betting lines have the Predators as the favorite, which is no surprise (-192, CBS Sports). The over-under is five and a half goals. It would be nice if the Chicago Blackhawks got six goals tonight, but I’ll be happy with a win.

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