Well, it’s finally here. The most wonderful time of the year: playoff hockey. I think if you are from Chicago, it’s an obligation to follow the Hawks playoff run regardless of if you are a die-hard hockey fan or not. But if you haven’t heard (please get out from under that rock), the Hawks take on the Nashville Predators this year in round one.
There’s NOTHING like playoff hockey! pic.twitter.com/Mpbr69X7UK
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) April 11, 2017
Here is the schedule:
Game 1: Thur., April 13, 7p.m. @ United Center
Game 2: Sat., April 15, 7 p.m. @ United Center
Game 3: Mon., April 17, 8:30p.m. @ Bridgestone Arena
Game 4: Thur., April 20, TBD @ Bridgestone Arena
Game 5 (if necessary): Sat., April 22, TBD @ United Center
Game 6 (if necessary): Mon., April 24, TBD @ Bridgestone Arena
Game 7 (if necessary): Wed., April 26, TBD @ United Center
These two teams have faced each other in the first round three of the past eight seasons. Two of those times, in 2010 and 2015, the Hawks claimed round one and have gone on to win the Stanley Cup.
I put together my bracket yesterday and I have Chicago advancing over Nashville in seven games but that definitely won’t be without a fight.
— The Madhouse Update (@madhouse_update) April 12, 2017
Let’s break down some numbers:
The Hawks and Predators have met five times during regular season. The Hawks won four of the five games.
During those games, the Hawks scored 20 goals while the Preds only scored 13.
If you were to consider these numbers, the Blackhawks hold the advantage. The area where Nashville has the advantage is on the power play and penalty kill.
The Preds are ranked 15th on the penalty kill at 80.9 percent while the Hawks are ranked 24th at 77.7 percent. For the power play, the Preds are ranked 16th at 18.9 percent and the Hawks are 19th at 18 percent.
I would also recommend reading this article in the Chicago Tribune which compares additional aspects of each team.
Although the Hawks are coming off of a four-game losing streak, I think they are buzzing and know what needs to be done. I’m excited for the series. It’s going to be a battle right up until the end. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Hawks take some time to find their rhythm but as Chicago fans know, it ain’t over til’ it’s over.
My prediction: Blackhawks in seven.
Let me know who you have advancing and why in the comments below!