Chicago Blackhawks (48-28-6) at Nashville Predators (47-25-10)
|Date & Time||Wednesday April 15, 2015, 8:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Nashville Predators -116 / Chicago Blackhawks +105 --- Over/Under: 5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Blackhawks look to take down the Preds in their series opener in Nashville and they will have star forward Patrick Kane back in the mix after he was out for more than six weeks.
The Chicago Blackhawks received a huge boost yesterday with the news that Patrick Kane would be available as early as the series opener on Wednesday and while the team is loaded without him they are that much better with him especially with the presence he brings in big games. The Hawks struggled to close out the season but their standing in the final week was pretty well set in stone so perhaps getting some rest in was more important for Joel Quenneville and his group and now they must come ready to play on the road for the first two games in Nashville. Corey Crawford already has a Cup under his belt and he will once again be relied on to backstop the Hawks to a deep playoff push and while the Preds have had a nice season you can be sure that Chicago was happy to have drawn Nashville here and not the St. Louis Blues.
The Predators were lights out at home this season with a 28-9-4 record but much like the Hawks they are backing their way into the playoffs having lost three straight and that was with a potential division crown on the line which is a bit concerning for the Preds heading into this series. Nashville has a solid defense and that is no secret but their offense has been much better this season – at least for the first half of the year but they have since gone a little cool and will need the likes of James Neal and Filip Forsberg to elevate their play. The Predators have been impressive on the whole but their second half was a little lackluster and their goal differential compared to both Chicago and St. Louis is alarming and as such I think the Hawks win the series and steal the series opener.