Predators vs. Blackhawks Odds, Preview, Prediction: Can Chicago Start to Turn Season Around? (November 7)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Kane.
- Nashville travels to Chicago on Sunday night, looking for consecutive wins.
- The Blackhawks welcome interim head coach Derek King to the job and seek just their second win of the season.
- Nicholas Martin breaks down the game and gives his top pick, below.
Predators vs. Blackhawks Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Chicago returns home after yet another embarrassing defeat and prepares to host the Nashville Predators who have posted a 2-1 record in the early going of a season-high six-game road swing.
The 5-1 defeat at the hands of the Jets was the final straw for Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton, and Derek King will be brought in as the interim coach from AHL Rockford.
Can the Hawks manage to fair better against a Nashville team who certainly packs a lesser offensive punch than the Jets as they strive to get their season moving in the right direction under new guidance?
Predators Scoring Could Get Going in Chicago
Juuse Saros dragged the Nashville Predators to the playoffs last season, and in the early going of this year we have seen a similar script play out. The Preds have altogether defended worse than the results show of late to my eye, and Saros has done a great job holding the opposition to minimal totals.
While 2.65 xGA/60 over the first three games of the road trip is still a high mark, I actually feel even that is generous — like specifically the xGA/60 of 2.05 Friday vs. Vancouver that seemed to be quite a low game score.
In large due to very similar plays on Vancouver’s Brock Boeser and Nils Hoglander’s goals, which accounted for just 0.14 xGA based off of final shot location, that were complete defensive breakdowns in which each player had all day in front of the net to eventually outwait Saros. These sort of plays show why using expected goals in a smaller sample size isn’t always the most accurate.
Matt Duchene, Mikael Granlund and Ryan Johansen have combined for 28 points over 33 games so far this season, and they offer Nashville some important offensive punch for a group that will likely still be one of the league’s lower-scoring outfits this season.
The trio are altogether more important given the loss of Filip Forsberg, who is no doubt the Predators’ top offensive piece.
However a trip to Chicago could be just what the doctor ordered to keep the offensive totals rolling, as the Blackhawks have allowed the league’s second worst goals against per game at 3.92.
Having already started backup Connor Ingram once this week, I can’t see why coach John Hynes wouldn’t ride Juuse Saros again here, and I would count on him getting the start.
Saros has stopped 92.3 % of shots faced and stopped 3.5 goals above expected.
Blackhawks Have Roster to Turn Season Around
The Hawks will begin life without Jeremy Colliton tomorrow night, in a year which has quickly turned into a comedy of errors. It’s hard to dictate how much the team can trend upwards, as clearly Colliton was in a hard situation given what is simply a weak defensive core.
Seth Jones has simply not been good in the early going and has been a liability on the top pairing. The options are thin behind him, and it’s hard to see Chicago being outside of the bottom third with regards to high-danger chances allowed, even if a change at the top allows markedly different results.
Marc-Andre Fleury has been very out of form as well in the early going, albeit I’m sure a number of goalies would likely show worse playing behind a team that has been very sloppy defensively.
Fleury will likely stabilize to an extent, given his spectacular career numbers, and he will have a huge opportunity to come up with a big start against a Predators team that certainly packs a lesser punch offensively than much of the competition he has seen in the early going.
The part that has been most surprising for me has been Chicago’s dreadful 5-on-5 xGF/60 of 1.40. They have played short some key pieces at times and perhaps came in to the season overvalued, but I still feel that the roster has the pieces to trend upwards considerably from that, and over a bigger sample size we should see Patrick Kane and crew manage better results.
Predators vs. Blackhawks Pick
It’s a scary proposition considering what we have seen from Chicago altogether this season, but I actually feel like this sets up as a good spot to back the Hawks at even money as they try desperately to get moving in the right direction, having seen head coach Colliton fired yesterday afternoon.
The Hawks won’t touch the playoff race this season, but they will obviously trend upwards from their abysmal .167 win percentage in the early going. I feel that there is still enough offensive talent on this group that they should be able to produce at a better rate 5-on-5 than we have seen in the early going. This sets up as a sneaky good spot to back them against a Nashville team that I feel has played worse of late than results indicate.
At some point the Predators’ sloppy defensive play displayed throughout this week is going to result in some breakdowns for which Juuse Saros can not compensate, and altogether these rosters are closer than the early results show. Considering the spot, I’m going to attempt to back a terrible team in the Chicago Blackhawks to break through with their second win of the season.
Pick: Chicago Blackhawks -110, Play to -125