The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs begin tonight when the Nashville Predators take on the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of their Western Conference first round matchup. The game is scheduled for an 8:30 p.m. start time and it will be televised live on the NBC Sports Network. Currently the betting odds for the game have the Blackhawks favored to get the win in this first matchup.
Nashville will host this first contest against the Blackhawks as they finished a spot higher in the Western Conference standings as the third overall seed. Chicago did a nice job backing their way into the post season, losers of four straight games heading into tonight. Nashville didn't do any better themselves, dropping their final six games, four in regulation, after they were able to wrap up a playoff spot.
Patrick Kane is expected to be back on the ice tonight after busting up his collarbone back in February. While he might be a bit rusty out there on the ice, he certainly gives Chicago a better chance to win. Chicago certainly has the edge in the talent department between these two squads with four guys scoring at least 20 goals, which doesn't include Patrick Sharp or Andrew Shaw.
The Predators finished with four 20-goal scorers as well, led by Filip Forsberg with 26. The defensive is always solid with Nashville and they have one of the best goal tenders in the sport in Pekka Rinne.
Chicago goalie Corey Crawford has played well at times this season, but certainly took a couple of tough losses. Tonight the team that gets the better player between the pipes has a great chance to win. We'll back the Predators, who finished the regular season with the best mark at home among Western Conference teams at 28-9-4.
Free Pick: Predators
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