NBCSN Wednesday Night Preview
There are 2 video games on the NBCSN schedule Wednesday as the Chicago Blackhawks remain in Nashville to handle the Predators and the Vegas Golden Knights host the San Jose Sharks in the late video game.
Editor’s Note: The Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators take on Wednesday on NBCSN beginning at 6:00 pm ET. Livestream all the action here.
NASHVILLE AT CHICAGO
The Blackhawks enter Wednesday night’s tilt with 47 points, great for 6th in the Central. They had an opportunity to move into a fourth-place tie with Nashville Monday however fell 5-2 to the Predators.
The Blackhawks are led by Patrick Kane, like they have actually been over the last 13 seasons. He and Jonathan Toews were the cogs in the Chicago offense however with Toews taking this season off due to a concealed concern, it’s Kane’s group this season. He has 15 objectives and 42 helps, great for 3rd total in NHL scoring.
It has actually been a great resurgence season for Alex DeBrincat who has 23 objectives in 46 video games after potting just 18 objectives in 70 contests last season. He is back to form as he was a 41-goal scorer in 2018-19 and among the brilliant areas this season for Chicago.
The Blackhawks were believed to have goaltending issues heading into the season, however novice Kevin Lankinen has actually supplied the group with more than sufficient netminding. He has actually brought them sometimes this season however has actually quit a minimum of 3 objectives in each of his last 5 video games. Still, his 16-13-4 record with a 2.89 goals-against-average with a .911 save portion has actually offered him some Calder factor to consider this season.
Duncan Keith is still the seasoned leader of the blueline however there is some great, young skill who are going to lead Chicago in the future consisting of Adam Boqvist, Wyatt Kalynuk and Ian Mitchell. Regrettably, Boqvist is presently in concussion procedure while Kalynuk left Monday’s video game in the very first duration with an injury and did not return.
Kirby Dach is another future star up front but he was hampered before the start of the season, breaking his wrist at practice during the World Junior Championships. He finally returned last month and has a goal and five points in 12 games. He played 17:36 on Monday, including over eight minutes on special teams, split fairly evenly between the power play and penalty kill.
The Predators were thought to be dead in the water and definite sellers at the trade deadline but that was before they took off as they are presently 15-5-0 in their last 20 games to move into fourth place in the Central.
The Predators received good goaltending from Pekka Rinne to start the season but Juuse Saros has been outstanding since February 13 as he has given up more than two goals only twice (three against Dallas on April 1 and four versus Carolina on April 15), stopping 536-of 566 shots for a .947 save percentage. That is outstanding!
The Predators blueline headed by Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm and Ryan Ellis is their strength. Josi was the NHL’s Norris Trophy winner last season as the best defenseman and when it was thought that Nashville would be sellers at the trade deadline, Ekholm was at the top of everyone’s list as the best player who could be available.
Offensively Nashville has been struggling, scoring only 121 goals in 47 games. Their top offensive threat is Filip Forsberg. The problem is that Forsberg has been out of action with an upper-body injury since March 25 and he still leads the Predators in points with 29.
Calle Jarnkrok leads the team with 12 goals while Mikael Granlund and Forsberg are one behind. Viktor Arvidsson also can score as he had 34 goals in only 58 games just two seasons ago and they are high on the injured Eeli Tolvanen but Nashville will rely on their defensive prowess and strong goaltending as they attempt to hold off Dallas and Chicago for the fourth and final playoff spot.
Probable Chicago Lineup
Alex DeBrincat-Kirby Dach-Adam Gaudette
Vinnie Hinostroza-Pius Suter-Patrick Kane
Dominik Kubalik-Philipp Kurashev-Dylan Strome
Brett Connolly-David Kampf-Ryan Carpenter
Calvin de Haan- Duncan Keith
Connor Murphy-Nikita Zadorov
Riley Stillman-Ian Mitchell
Probable Nashville Lineup
Rocco Grimaldi-Ryan Johansen-Viktor Arvidsson
Calle Jarnkrok-Mikael Granlund-Luke Kunin
Nick Cousins-Erik Haula-Matt Duchene
Yakov Trenin-Colton Sissons-Tanner Jeannot
Roman Josi-Matthew Benning
Mattias Ekholm-Ryan Ellis
Ben Harpur-Erik Gudbranson
SAN JOSE AT VEGAS
Editor’s Note: The San Jose Sharks visit the Vegas Golden Knights Wednesday on NBCSN starting at 9:30 pm ET. Livestream all the action here.
The San Jose Sharks have lost six in a row, but did pick up their first point in the losing streak with a shootout loss to Vegas on Monday.
Evander Kane is the heart-and-soul of the team, leading the Sharks on the ice in goals and points with 17 and 36 respectively and is their toughest player as well, going into the corners and leading the team with 40 penalty minutes. He has been playing with Logan Couture on the top line with Noah Gregor moving up on Monday and scoring his fourth of the season. Gregor should remain there for Wednesday’s video game.
Patrick Marleau, who broke Gordie Howe’s record Monday for most career games at 1,768, will hit another milestone as he will play in his 900th consecutive game, becoming only the fourth NHLer in history to do so. Only Doug Jarvis, Gary Unger and current Florida Panther Keith Yandle have hit the 900 mark.
It has been a tough season for both Timo Meier and Tomas Hertl who were expected to be the next wave of good players in San Jose.
The blueline is aging as Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson have seen better days, now that each are in their 30’s. The Sharks had hoped that the acquisition of Karlsson three years ago would put them over the top and win the Stanley Cup, but that did not happen and the Sharks have to re-build with a lack of enough good young players on the horizon.
Martin Jones has been good this season at times as he is 15-12-3 with a 3.19 goals-against-average and a .898 save percentage. His peripheral stats are not great but he was the very first star of the week once this season and that’s better than anyone else on the Sharks.
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The Golden Knights have won seven straight games to move atop the West Division standings, two up on the COVID-ridden Colorado Avalanche.
They have the best goalkeeping tandem in the NHL with Robin Lehner and Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury was outstanding earlier in the season and Lehner has overcome an early season injury and is sharing the job with Fleury at this time.
Their best player is Mark Stone who has a team-leading 52 points and is one of, if not the best, two-way forwards in the NHL. His linemate Max Pacioretty has 22 goals in 42 games and has regained his scoring touch that he lost in his last season with Montreal in 2017-18.
Reilly Smith has been entrenched as a top-six forward however missed Monday’s contest with an undisclosed injury.
Don’t forget about players like Alex Tuch, Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson and Mattias Janmark who make up most of their middle-six forwards and are a major reason why the Golden Knights are so successful.
The blueline is really led by Shea Theodore although Alex Pietrangelo was the big-name off-season acquisition by Vegas. The signing forced Vegas to trade Nate Schmidt to Vancouver just to get under the salary cap and his play has been up-and-down this season as Pietrangelo has had to deal with COVID at the beginning of the season and a hand injury in March. Pietrangelo has only four goals and 14 points in 30 video games while Theodore has actually six objectives and 36 points in 42 contests.
Probable San Jose Lineup
Noah Gregor-Logan Couture-Evander Kane
Rudolfs Balcers-Tomas Hertl-Patrick Marleau
Timo Meier-Dylan Gambrell-Kevin Labanc
Ryan Donato-Joel Kellman-John Leonard
Mario Ferraro-Brent Burns
Nikolai Knyzhov-Erik Karlsson
Radim Simek-Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Probable Vegas Lineup
Max Pacioretty-Chandler Stephenson-Mark Stone
Jonathan Marchessault-William Karlsson-Alex Tuch
William Carrier-Nicolas Roy-Mattias Janmark
Tomas Jurco-Tomas Nosek-Dylan Coghlan
Alec Martinez -Alex Pietrangelo
Brayden McNabb-Shea Theodore
Nicolas Hague-Zach Whitecloud
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.