Nashville (19-16-7) at Chicago (27-13-4)
When: Tuesday, January 12th 2016
Where: United Center, Chicago, IL
Time: 8:35 ET | TV: FSN Tennessee, CSN Chicago
The Chicago Blackhawks look to continue their current hot streak when they host the stumbling Nashville Predators on Tuesday. The Blackhawks have won a season-high seven straight and have scored three or more in each of those. The 6-3 win over Colorado on Sunday was their biggest offensive output in their current four-game homestand. Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane each score twice and Andrew Shaw added two assists. The veteran Hossa is now just seven goals shy of 500 for his career. Captain Jonathan Toews also tallied a goal and has 5 points in his last two games. Goalie Corey Crawford has won five straight starts overall and has an impressive 15-5-1 record with six shutouts and a 1.62 goals-against average at home this season. The two-time Jennings Trophy winner kept Nashville in check on December 8th, turning aside 36-of-37 shots in a 4-1 victory at the United Center. The Blackhawks also lost to the Predators in Nashville 5-1 on December 10th. With Chicago’s recent success, they have almost caught the front-running Dallas Stars in the Central Division. They sit only four points behind the Stars in the race for the top-seed in the West.
The Predators are clinging to the 8th and final playoff spot right now and look to turn things around quickly. Nashville has dropped three straight and five of six overall. They were shutout by Arizona 4-0 on Saturday night and are just 1-for-18 on the power play in their last six games. Goalie Pekka Rinne, who has yielded 19 goals in his last six games (2-4-0), is 4-8-3 on the road this season and surrendered three goals on 23 shots the last time he was in Chicago. The good news is that James Neal has torched the Blackhawks during his career, scoring twice in the most recent meeting and accumulating 14 goals and five assists in 20 meetings. Eric Nystrom scored a goal in each of the meetings this season and Roman Josi has a pair of assists against Chicago. The penalty killing has been awful of late surrendering five power play goals in their last 11 chances. Nashville will get Chicago again next week, but this time at home.
The Blackhawks are just playing too well to go against right now. Crawford is hot and the team is scoring. Rinne has been awful and he’s not very good on the road. Take the home team.
Pick: Blackhawks -145