Nashville Predators vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Tip-off: Friday, April 19, 2013 – 8:30 PM ET
United Center, Chicago, Illinois
The Chicago Blackhawks have successfully clinched the top spot in the Western Conference. They will now meet the Nashville Predators who according to YouWager experts have the league’s best overall record.
Tonight the Blackhawks will try to extend their winning streak to seven – and point streak to 10 – on when the visiting Predators take the ice for the first time since their franchise record-tying seventh straight defeat eliminated them from playoff contention.
After clinching the Central Division title with Friday’s 3-2 shootout victory versus the Detroit Red Wings, and defeating the St. Louis Blues and the Dallas Stars, Chicago locked up the top spot in the West on Wednesday when second-place Anaheim Ducks were defeated 3-2 in overtime versus the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Chicago and Anaheim could still end up tied with 70 points, however the Blackhawks wins the tiebreaker by virtue of more regulation and overtime victories.
Chicago is 8-0-1 since their last regulation loss – 2-1 to the Ducks on March 29 – and are four points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins for their first Presidents’ Trophy since 1990-91.
Chicago captain Jonathan Toews likes thinks the Blackhawks have great chances, as they’re riding their longest winning streak since a franchise-best 11-game run from Feb. 15-March 6 that capped off a NHL-record 24-game point streak to open the season.
Nashville is not feeling as strong after their postseason chances ended with Monday’s 5-2 defeat versus the Vancouver Canucks. The Predators had been to the postseason in seven of the last eight hockey seasons, and were the only West team to advance to the semifinals in 2011 and 2012.
Chicago, 4-0-1 in their last five at the United Center, have won all four when facing the Predators this season, with three of those coming this month. The Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville still expects a tough divisional matchup as Nashville will try to prevent getting swept by the Blackhawks for the first time.
The Blackhawks have five straight victories versus the Predators, with Patrick Kane leading the club with four goals and six points during that stretch.