Game Three: Blackhawks vs. Preds

Heading into the first-round of the post-season, there were a number of matchups that were of the too-close-to-call variety. "Just focus on the little things, and focus on taking things one shift at a time and not worry about trying to climb any mountain and trying to accomplish everything at once".

During the regular season, eight of Nashville's 13 goals against the Blackhawks came from what's typically known as the slot - the area of the ice in between the faceoff circles. If you are still not convinced about Fubo TV then try out their 7-day trial free, so you can watch Predators vs Blackhawks Stream Online.

Chicago finished the season leading the Western Conference and would go on to face the Conference's second wild card, the Nashville Predators. Not only did the Blackhawks give up five goals in their Game 2 loss on Saturday night, but the team has yet to score a goal in the series, something that has happened only one other time through the first two games of any playoff series that the team has played. The Preds defeated the Ducks in seven games after winning the first two tilts of their postseason series in 2016 (First Round).

Even with only one win in five attempts during the regular season, the Predators controlled the majority of possession in every game. Chicago's win in 2015 included a second-round sweep.

5-0 was the final - and the Blackhawks were on the losing end. At what point does effort trump experience? Ryan Johansen had a big night, and Nashville got a lift from a couple of unlikely scorers.

This is the first time the Predators have ever shut out an opponent on the road in their postseason history (36th road postseason game).

This is a temporary slump for a top-tier starting goaltender, and just as it's possible for mid-level goalies like Jake Allen in St. Louis to go on a temporary hot streak (as Allen has done for St. Louis so far in its series against Minnesota), it's possible for top goalies like Crawford to run cold over a few games. The Blackhawks are entering the zone by chipping the puck down and chasing after it where they are met with consistent pressure against the boards.

Furthermore, it would not surprise me to see more aggression from the Hawks' defense with regards to stepping up in the play.

We really have to figure out a way to own Pekka Rinne. Hartman looked good in the first game, but let his emotions get the better of him late in Game 2, delivering a cross-check to Craig Smith's head and earning a 10-minute misconduct.

The third period sealed the Blackhawks' fate as the Predators continued their scoring affair to the likes of two more goals. And I am sure that Pred Nation would love it if Chicago pundits would keep on writing about how Rinne is no longer elite. In between, the Predators' defensive game frustrated the Blackhawks, with Rinne neatly cleaning up any messes left over.

Dating back to previous year, Patrick Kane has just one goal in nine playoff games. Nashville has been out-chancing Chicago and finishing when it matters. But the Predators eventually started to control the action, and their high-scoring top line of Arvidsson, Johansen and Filip Forsberg silenced the fans with one nice sequence. But it's not just the main threats who are providing.

Plus, given Crawford's track record of performance it seems unlikely that he is going to have another clunker like he did in game 2.

ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS: With Chicago going almost 14 minutes without a shot on goal in the first period of Game 1, rookie Nick Schmaltz found himself on the bench for a brief time - a move that could translate into Game 2. So if this series breaks down to a battle of depth, it's the Predators who oh-so-clearly have the edge right now. The star power Chicago boasts isn't going away and the Blackhawks have dug themselves out of holes equally as deep before.

  • Julie Sanders