It’s always a little tough for me when the Blackhawks play the Predators for two reasons, doctor the first being that Nashville is one of my favorite places, discount so I kind of want to root for their team. The second is that I miss Viktor Stalberg ever so much! Can you blame me? However, after the beating the Blackhawks took the last time they played the Predators, I’m definitely ready for a re-match.
What You Need to Know
When I talk about how the Hawks are playing this season, I feel a little like a broken record, but in a good way; they’re first in the league, they’re winning more often than not. For the most part these guys are just playing great hockey. Of course, they’re going to have a bad game here and there, which they did this past Saturday against Toronto.
Rookie goaltender Antti Raanta had his first NHL loss against Toronto. That loss and being pulled from that game didn’t seem to affect him much. He came back Sunday night strong against the LA Kings, making 21 saves. Raanta seems to be finding his sea legs, or ice legs as the case may be.
Players to Watch
- Nashville Predators: Of course I’m going to tell you to keep your eye on Viktor Stalberg, not that I think you won’t be already. Frankly, Stalberg is having an average season with 4 goals, 6 assists and 10 points, but he’s still one of my favorite hockey players and he’s just so darn pretty (Monica Murphy Vargas agrees with me). With Pekka Rinne injured, Marek Mazanec has stepped up in goal for Nashville. He currently has 5 wins, 7 losses and 1 overtime loss, which isn’t bad for a rookie. His save percentage is .915, GAA is 2.51, which is pretty evenly matched with Antti Raanta‘s .911 save percentage and 2.61 GAA. Mr. Carrie Underwood aka Mike Fisher is also having himself an average season, with only 12 points but he’s another one I enjoy looking at. Leading the Preds in points is Davis Legwand with an impressive (for Nashville) 24 points. The 33 year old center has 6 goals and 18 assists.
- Chicago Blackhawks: Patrick Kane is still on fire. He has 44 points so far this season; 19 goals, 25 assists. Not far behind Kaner is Patrick Sharp, who I haven’t talked too much about so far this season. Sharpie has 15 goals, 17 assists, 32 points. Sharp is a definite leader on this team, as evidenced by the “A” he wears on his sweater. He’s a seasoned player and a great example for all those “young hockey players out there,” as Eddie Olczyk would say. Of course I must mention the fact that Patrick Sharp is also quite a handsome man.
Your Take Away Piece
“The Blackhawks look like a very cohesive unit now and are playing solid hockey. They need to focus on staying that way and getting/staying healthy. Hopefully Bickell and Crawford will be returning soon, which should only help the team’s mentality.”
The Blackhawks play the Predators Tuesday evening at 7pm. You can catch all the action on Comcast SportsNet. Following two days off, the Hawks return home to take on the Vancouver Canucks on Friday the 20th and finish out the year facing the New Jersey Devils, Colorado Avalanche, St.Louis Blues, and LA Kings.