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Preds/Blackhawks Match-Up To Watch

by Jay Levin / Nashville Predators
Predators Power-Play vs. Blackhawks Penalty Kill

Injuries to Jason Arnott, Martin Erat, and David Legwand have removed 64 goals and 141 points from the Predators lineup. Further, Ryan Jones had been developing into a quality secondary scoring option, including scoring the game-winning goal March 16 at Los Angeles, before suffering an upper body injury during off-ice workouts prior to the March 24 game vs. Anaheim.

With those four removed from the lineup, the Predators need to find other sources of offense. Cal O’Reilly has provided a nice boost with two goals and an assist in his four games since being recalled on March 26. But the power-play is another outlet the Predators will need to utilize for offensive production. And over the past nine games the power-play has helped the Preds attack as Nashville has converted eight power-play goals in that span – as the team has correspondingly picked up points in eight of those nine games. Nashville scored two goals with the man-advantage Sunday at Detroit – including Ryan Suter’s game-winner with 4:36 remaining in regulation – but was held off the score sheet in Tuesday’s 2-1 loss at Columbus.

On the flip-side, Chicago’s penalty kill ranks 18th in the league at 80.4%, but has struggled at home, killing off just 79.8% of opponent power-plays. The Hawks have surrendered 12 opponent power-play goals in their past 12 games – holding opposing power-plays off the score sheet in just three of those 12 games. Chicago has also allowed an opponent power-play goal in eight of its last nine home games. In fact, only seven teams in the NHL have allowed more opponent power-play goals on home ice than Chicago’s 32.

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