Nashville Predators at Chicago Blackhawks Game 1 Preview & NHL Prediction
There are a lot of different elements that go into deciding who will be the favorite to win the Stanley Cup when the playoffs begin. There are a lot of hockey fans who believe that you simply cannot hope to win it all without solid goal-tending, while others believe that special teams success and a sprinkling of toughness are the key. They are all important, but one thing that often gets forgotten is playoff experience.
Of the 16 teams heading into the playoffs this season, it’s tough to argue against the Chicago Blackhawks as being the team with the most experience. After all, this is a team that has won 3 of the last 7 Stanley Cups, making them a franchise that knows how to get the job done when it matters. It certainly also helps that they were the best team in the Western Conference during the regular season. They will get this season’s run for the cup started on Thursday night when they host the #8 seeded Nashville Predators at the United Center in Chicago.
Predators at Blackhawks Game 1 Info & NHL Odds:
When: Thursday, April 13 at 8 PM EST
Where: United Center, Chicago
Radio: 102.5 WPRT-FM (Nashville), 720 WGN (Chicago)
Live Stream: NBCSports.com
NHL Odds: Blackhawks: -1½+175
Why bet on the Nashville Predators
The Predators missed their chance of jumping up a spot and facing the Anaheim Ducks instead of the Chicago Blackhawks by losing their last game of the season. Their record versus Chicago this season was not good, as they lost 4 of their 5 meetings with the Central Division foes. The problem that the Predators have here is that they are going to need to find a way to manufacture a win on the road in Chicago if they want to win his series, and when you consider that the Predators were 3 games under .500 on the road during the regular season, you begin to see how big a task that is.
Why bet on the Chicago Blackhawks
The Blackhawks ended the season on a 4-game losing skid, but anyone who believes that it could carry over into the playoffs is probably forgetting that this team had the Western Conference top seed locked up long before that skid. Guys were rested, and the team as a whole took the foot off the gas a little bit coming down the stretch.
Locking up home ice advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs is huge for this team, as they went 26-10-5 in their own building this season. That they also have a stellar road record is a sign that the Blackhawks need to be considered the favorites in the West. They lost the first game of their regular season series to the Predators, but went on to beat them in the next 4 games, scoring 18 goals in the process.
Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction
The match-ups between these two teams this season delivered a lot of goals, and we can probably expect more of the same. Look for Chicago to try and dominate on home ice from the opening puck drop.
Nashville Predators 2 Chicago Blackhawks 5