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Preds/Blackhawks Match-Up To Watch

Monday, 04.6.2009 / 4:52 PM CT / Preview
By Jay Levin  - Nashville Predators
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Preds\/Blackhawks Match-Up To Watch

Special Teams Battle

With both goaltenders playing well – Chicago’s Nikolai Khabibulin has allowed just two goals in his past three starts and Nashville’s Pekka Rinne ranks third in the league in goals against average, fifth in save percentage, and tied for third in shutouts this season –even strength goals should be tough to come by, which will put more of a premium on special teams play. And special teams – particularly the match-up between Nashville’s power-play and Chicago’s penalty kill – has been a determining factor in four of the five games. Nashville has scored a power-play goal in all three of its wins, while Chicago has held the Preds power-play off the scoreboard in the two Blackhawks wins.

The most recent meeting between the two teams, last Friday in Chicago, was the only match-up this season that did not see one of the two teams score a power-play goal, but it took a key Blackhawks penalty kill midway through the third period to preserve a one-goal advantage and set the stage for a late empty net tally in Chicago’s 3-1 win.

In the earlier season match-ups Nashville has drawn momentum from its power-play including a pair of third period man-advantage goals in the February 24 come-back win with J.P. Dumont scoring the game-tying goal with an early third period power-play marker and Shea Weber getting the insurance goal to seal the 5-3 win on a late game power-play. Weber also netted the game-winning goal in the January 10 meeting on the power-play. And going back to the first match-up between the teams, it was a Weber power-play goal midway through the first period that tied the game 1-1 in Nashville’s eventual 3-2 shootout win.

Nashville’s penalty kill – which ranks third overall in the NHL this season at 83.5% and is even better at home killing off 88.6% of opponent man-advantages – has also been sharp against Chicago, negating 17 of the Hawks 19 power-play opportunities. However, the Hawks made good use of their scores, with a power-play goal to open the scoring in their 3-1 win on January 11.

SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

SCHEDULE
 

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 33 31 1 64
R. Josi 81 14 47 -3 61
J. Neal 82 31 27 27 58
S. Weber 78 20 31 -7 51
M. Ribeiro 81 7 43 11 50
C. Smith 82 21 16 4 37
M. Ekholm 82 8 27 14 35
R. Johansen 42 8 26 10 34
R. Ellis 79 10 22 13 32
C. Jarnkrok 81 16 14 1 30
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 34 21 10 .908 2.48
C. Hutton 7 5 4 .918 2.33