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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 DAL 56 36 15 5 182 150 77
2 CHI 59 36 18 5 162 137 77
3 STL 57 31 17 9 138 133 71
4 LAK 55 33 19 3 151 129 69
5 SJS 54 29 20 5 158 144 63
6 ANA 54 27 19 8 123 127 62
7 COL 59 29 26 4 156 164 62
8 NSH 56 26 21 9 147 148 61
9 ARI 55 25 24 6 144 168 56
10 MIN 55 23 22 10 135 138 56
11 VAN 55 22 21 12 127 149 56
12 CGY 54 25 26 3 144 160 53
13 WPG 55 25 27 3 140 158 53
14 EDM 57 22 29 6 139 169 50

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Josi 56 11 31 0 42
F. Forsberg 56 18 18 -7 36
S. Weber 56 15 21 -2 36
M. Ribeiro 56 6 30 3 36
J. Neal 56 21 14 19 35
M. Ekholm 56 6 19 3 25
R. Ellis 55 6 16 2 22
C. Jarnkrok 55 11 8 2 19
C. Smith 56 11 7 -1 18
R. Johansen 16 4 12 6 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 20 18 8 .902 2.57
C. Hutton 6 2 1 .924 2.10