The first-round matchup between the Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators opens with Game 1 at 7 p.m. on Thursday night. You know what that means: time to stock up on beverages, tear off those pants, and get ready to loudly shout at your television.
Ever since the Blackhawks’ place in the postseason became clear a few months back, it’s been an anxious wait for the first round to arrive. Then fans had to wait an extra day after the start of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs because the Bulls were playing at the United Center on Wednesday night.
Now, finally, the real games begin after 50 regular-season wins.
Game 1 will be broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Network and locally on CSN Chicago. You can also catch a live stream provided by NBC Sports, and WGN 720 AM will have radio coverage.
The Blackhawks are being heavily favored against the Predators in this matchup, including in our own playoff picks here at Second City Hockey. Of the 48 analysts from major outlets sampled in this post, 45 of them have the Blackhawks advancing to the second round.
That extreme confidence belies a matchup that’s actually quite close on paper, however. The Blackhawks finished the season with a better goal differential (+31 to +17), but the Predators finished with better 5-on-5 possession numbers. The biggest difference between the two teams is Chicago’s success in late-game and overtime situations.
Chicago finished 15 points ahead of Nashville. They had 13 OT/SO points. Nashville had 6. Thinking Chicago is invincible is ludicrous.— dellowhockey (@dellowhockey) April 10, 2017
So while it seems like everyone expects the Blackhawks to hang on in a long series, the Predators should not be brushed aside. They’re one of the best teams in the Western Conference and should provide a real challenge in the first round, especially if Calle Jarnkrok and Colin Wilson are in form after missing some time with injuries.
Still, this should be a thrilling series to watch no matter what. We’re excited to cover it with you all here.
Projected lines for Game 4
|Goaltender||Corey Crawford||Pekka Rinne|
How to watch Game 1
Time: 7 p.m. CT
TV: CSN Chicago, NBCSN
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live
Radio: WGN AM 720