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Preview: Blackhawks at Predators (G6: 4/26)

Location: Power Play Memorial Arena

Game Time: 8:00 pm Central

TV: FSN, Versus

Radio: 104.5 The Zone (WGFX-FM)

Series:
Game 1 – NSH 4 – CHI 1
Game 2 – NSH 0 – CHI 2
Game 3 – CHI 1 – NSH 4
Game 4 – CHI 2 – NSH 0
Game 5 – NSH 4 – CHI 5 (OT)
Blackhawks Lead Series 3-2

Game Six: Monday marks the third Game Six in franchise history. The other two, in 2004 and 2007, were both against the Red Wings and were both shutout losses. In 2004, the Red Wings defeated the Predators 2-0, while in 2007, they won 3-0. Both games were at the Bridgestone Arena.

Home Sweet Home: In the playoffs, the Predators are 7-7 all-time at home, compared to just 1-12 on the road.

Elimination Games: Monday’s game marks the fifth time in franchise history that the Predators have played in an elimination game. Currently, the record stands at 0-4 in elimination games. All four elimination games have been in the Bridgestone Arena.

Power Play: It should come as no surprise to any Predators fan that the power play has been anemic during this playoff series. In the 2004 series against Detroit, the Preds actually started 0-22 before registering their first power play goal. However, going back to the 2008 playoff series against Detroit, the Predators have not scored in their last 31 playoff power play attempts, with the last goal being a first period goal by Dan Hamhuis on Dominik Hasek in game 4.

2010: 0-21 (0.0%) – 16th of 16
2008: 2-23 (8.7%) – 15th of 16
2007: 3-22 (13.6%) – 9th of 16
2006: 6-32 (18.8%) – 6th of 16
2004: 1-29 (3.4%) – 16th of 16
Total: 12-127 (9.4%)

Home:
2010: 0-10 (0.0%)
2008: 1-11 (9.1%)
2007: 2-17 (11.8%)
2006: 5-21 (23.8%)
2004: 0-15 (0.0%)
Total: 8-74 (10.8%)

Road:
2010: 0-11 (0.0%)
2008: 1-12 (8.3%)
2007: 1-5 (20.0%)
2006: 1-11 (9.1%)
2004: 1-14 (7.1%)
Total: 4-53 (7.5%)

Who Coaches the Power Play? An online petition started recently to fire assistant coach Peter Horachek due to the recent struggles with the power play. An argument erupted after that about whether or not Horachek actually was the power play coach, with some (including myself) recalling that he was relieved of power play duty at some point in the past few seasons. Apparently, we were either mistaken or he was reinstated at some point along the line, since as recently as this season, Coach Trotz said, “I give a lot of credit to Peter Horachek, who’s in charge of the power play.” While it is unlike Coach Trotz to call a coach out when something is going awry, it appears to be obvious to many where the crux of this problem lies.

First Round Exit: Since the playoff format changed for the 1994 season, the Winnipeg Jets/Phoenix Coyotes (1996-2000, 2002) have been eliminated the most consecutive times in the first round, at 6. The New York Islanders (1994, 2002-04, 2007) have lost 5 straight first round appearances . The Flames are in the midst of 4 straight first round losses (2006-09). The Oilers (1999-2001, 2003), Bruins (2002-04, 2008), and Capitals (2000-01, 2003, 2008) all lost four consecutive first round series at one point. Along with the Predators, only Columbus, Phoenix, the Islanders, and Atlanta have not made the second round since the format changed.

Overtime Woes: Saturday’s loss marked the 3rd playoff overtime game in franchise history and the second consecutive during a game 5. The Predators are 0-3 in playoff overtime games.

Clutch Legwand: After David Legwand’s epic late season scoring drought, very few people would have predicted that he would be the Preds’ leading scorer during these playoffs. With 7 points (2 G, 5 A), Legwand ranks 7th in the Western Conference in scoring. In fact, it ties Paul Kariya’s franchise record for scoring in a single playoff series. Legwand’s plus-6 rating is also currently the highest in franchise history.

Pekka Being Pekka: When you only have 6 playoff wins in franchise history coming into a series, it’s pretty easy to chase goalie records. Pekka has already set the franchise record for career road wins and single series road wins with…1. As long as Pekka plays 58 minutes, he will also set the franchise record for most minutes played during a playoffs. He has also tied the records for most wins in a series with 2.