The Chicago Blackhawks host the Nashville Predators on Thursday night at the United Center. This will be the second matchup that kicks off on the second day of the 2017 Nhl Playoffs. The Blackhawks are looking to get the bad taste out of their mouths from last season when they lost to the St. Louis Blues in the first round. For the first time since the 2012-13 campaign, they finished as the top seed in their division. Chicago has won four straight meetings against Nashville. Puck drop is slated for 8:00 PM Eastern time and the game can be seen on NBC Sports Network.

Predators (4th Central [2nd Wild Card], 41-29-12 overall, 17-20-4 away, 40-42 ATS)

In a meaningless regular season game, Nashville fell to Winnipeg 2-1. There was no scoring in the first period, but the Predators finally broke the ice with a goal by Ryan Ellis at the 11:31 mark. Despite the Jets being on power play, Ellis was able to punch it in the net shorthandedly on a breakaway and didn't need an assist. However, Winnipeg would respond with two unanswered goals in the final period.

Numerous players are questionable for the Predators on Thursday. Most notable: Center Mike Fisher (42 pts). He's missed the last two games with a lower-body injury. Center Calle Jarnkrok (31 pts) is also in a similar boat.

Defender Roman Josi (49 pts) is listed as probable and also is dealing with a lower-body injury.

Blackhawks (1st Central, 50-23-9 overall, 26-10-5 home, 39-43 ATS)

Chicago won their previous two championships in odd years -- 2015 and 2013. In the 2013 NHL Playoffs, they took down Boston 4 games to 2.

In 2015, they were able to glide past Tampa Bay by the same 4-2 margin. They've been one of hockey's best teams with four straight seasons of over 100 points -- and they would have had more if the 2012-13 season wasn't shortened due to a lockout. In 48 games, they collected 77 points and recorded just 12 total losses on the season.

Center Artem Anisimov (45 pts) is likely to be available despite dealing with a left leg injury. He hasn't played for nearly a month -- his most recent action was at Montreal on March 14th where he put in an assist. Defender Niklas Hjalmarsson (18 pts) should also be available after leaving the team for the birth of his child.

Betting on Predators and Blackhawks

Chicago is favored by a solid -170 on the moneyline with Nashville listed at +150. Goal total is set at 5.5. The Blackhawks are coming in with four consecutive losses.

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