The Nashville Predators will try to eliminate the Chicago Blackhawks in a sweep tonight at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators have looked the best they have looked all season in the 3 games in this series so far. If they continue to put the same kind of pressure on the Hawks they have been applying so far in this series, we could see handshakes tonight at the Bridge. The crowd will be on full tilt tonight, so the atmosphere tonight will be electric. Chicago is not going to just fold up and go away, so Nashville will have to be prepared for full push back tonight.
Here are the 3 keys to tonight’s matchup:
#1 – Stay Focused. The fans have the luxury of being excited and out of control tonight, however the team does not. They must be able to keep their focus on what they have been doing to slow down the Hawks. Should the Predators lose focus, we will most likely be heading to Chicago.
#2 – Stay out of the Box. The Predators took 4 penalties in the 2nd period in Game 3 and it led to the Blackhawks taking a 2-0 lead in the game. That cannot happen again. The Preds have done a great job of playing physical and aggressive without taking penalties so far in this series and they must do that tonight.
#3 – Stay Desperate. So far, Nashville has been the better team 5 on 5 and it is because they are playing like they have been fighting off elimination in every game. They have out hustled, out hit and out worked the Hawks at every turn to this point. Do that for 3 + more periods and they could get their 1st ever franchise series sweep.
#4- Stay in Toews Head. This is a bonus key for tonight. The Preds have Jonathan Toews playing like a frustrated player so far. Toews has 1pt in the series and that was on the powerplay, 5 on 5 the JOFA line has shut him down. When your captain is too busy chasing down P.K. Subban or Ryan Johansen to try to retaliate for a hit, everyone wonders what is going on. Keep him off his game, even if the Preds don’t win, it is fun to watch.
— A to Z Sports (@AtoZSports) April 18, 2017
Tonight’s game is a 7pm CT start. The game can be seen locally on Fox Sports Tennessee and nationally on NBCSN.
Follow me on Twitter at danieljones@dj_puckplanet