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Game 39: Chicago @ Nashville – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW


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Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images

The Chicago Blackhawks and their loyal traveling fan base are coming to Bridgestone Arena for a double shot of action against the Predators on Saturday and upward to Chicago on Sunday. The Blackhawks come in with a league-leading 58 points and lead the West by three points. Nashville was downed by another in division rival, the Columbus Blue Jackets, 3-1 on Thursday night. The Predators chances of getting to the playoffs are growing slimmer and it might take winning all four points against one of the league’s hottest teams for Nashville to go from window-watchers to being in the show.

The Blackhawks beat the Predators 3-2 in a shootout on Monday night and lost to the Blues in a shootout Thursday night. Chicago has gained five points in their last 3 games including a blowout performance against the Red Wings winning 7-1. Brandon Saad has four goals and five points in his last three games. He has been a welcome surprise to an already deadly lineup of forwards including the recently cleared Marian Hossa alongside Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.

Corey Crawford has a 2-0-1 record in his last three games and is ranked 4th in the NHL in GAA with 2.01. Ray Emery started the year on a record-breaking pace and the combined effort of Crawford and Emery is a tandem not unlike what Vancouver has with Luongo/Schneider. The ability to have two solid options in goal is a great weapon during the regular season, but in the playoffs it helps even more. The scrambling for the last two playoff spots in the West look to be a race to see who will play Chicago or Anaheim, two very strong opponents with their eyes on the prize.

The Predators lost one of their staunch offensive/defensive forwards in Martin Erat but are preparing for the future with a great prospect in Filip Forsberg. Incidentally, the Predators were undone Thursday night with the Blue Jackets newest addition of Marian Gaborik who scored the game-winning goal and had an assist.

David Legwand has been on a tear in his last five games with 3 goals and 4 assists. Legwand has been carrying his line with the addition of Beck and has been teaching Beck who has gone onto score four points in his last five games. Many thought with the subtraction of Legwand’s longtime teammate and usual linemate in Erat that Legwand’s game might suffer, but with Bourque coming back soon and Beck unafraid to take the shot Legwand sets up, the second line of the Predators can be formidable to opponents in the last few games.

Pekka Rinne has earned four points in his last four games and tried his best to keep Nashville in the game against Columbus. Despite a softie let in for the third goal of the game, Rinne kept things interesting while Bobrovsky of the Blue Jackets put on a show-stopping performance with a one goal allowed, 38 save performance. If the Predators have any chance left at making the playoffs, it’ll be through Rinne’s play to shut down opponents.

Remember that it is a matinee time of 2:00 P.M. Central and can be heard on 102.5 the Game and viewed locally on FS Tennessee. If you like what you’re reading or have questions/comments feel free to write us below or follow us on Twitter @Preducated and @ThePredatorial.

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