Nashville (29-21-11) at Chicago (38-19-5)
When: Thursday, February 25th 2016
Where: United Center, Chicago, IL
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: NBC Sports
The Chicago Blackhawks look to rebound from an embarrassing loss on Sunday when they host the Nashville Predators on Thursday. Goalie Corey Crawford allowed four goals on 23 shots before being yanked in a 6-1 loss at Minnesota in an outdoor game. Crawford is expected to be back in net versus Nashville whom he owns a 3-0-0 mark with a 1.33 goals-against average and .966 save percentage against this season. Chicago owns a 3-1 mark against Nashville this season including 2-0 at the United Center. Patrick Kane scored his team’s lone goal on Sunday to push his career-high total to 35. He has five goals and six assists in the nine contests following the All-Star break. Kane has scored three goals and set up two others against Nashville this season, raising his point total to 41 (20 goals, 21 assists) in 47 meetings with the Predators. Captain Jonathan Toews notched an assist for the third straight game on Sunday and has eight points (two goals, six assists) in his last eight games. The Blackhawks have allowed eight power-play goals in the last six games and are ranked just 17th in the league in that category.
Goaltender Pekka Rinne has turned his season around and the Predators are feeding off of that. Nashville extended their overall point streak to seven games (4-0-3) and their franchise-best road point streak to nine (7-0-2) with a 3-2 victory over Toronto on Tuesday. Filip Forsberg notched a natural hat trick against the Maple Leafs to increase his goal total to nine in the last nine contests. Rinne had a 3-6-1 stretch in January, but has turned it around with a 6-3-2 mark and a 2.08 goals-against average recently. The tough stretch saw him yield three goals in a pair of losses to the Blackhawks as well. Veteran forward James Neal has scored twice versus Chicago, increasing his goal total to 14 in 22 career meetings. Ryan Johansen needs to get going again as the Predators center has just one goal in his last 14 games. Nashville sits as the 7th seed currently out West and are 10 points from the six-seed, but have a five point cushion on Minnesota (9th).
Rinne and the Predators seem to be turning things around and I think this is a good spot to take the underdog tonight. Chicago can’t stop the power-play right now and Nashville needs this win more.
Pick: Predators +135