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PREVIEW: Blackhawks vs. Golden Knights - Game 5

Chicago looks to avoid elimination for second straight game against Vegas

by Carter Baum @CarterBaum /

TIME: 9:30 p.m. CT
TV: NBCSCH   RADIO: WGN 720-AM / WRTO-AM 1200  |  STREAM: & MyTeamsApp

With a win under their belt, the Blackhawks will look to build on a Game 4 victory and once again prolong their season on Tuesday night in Game 5 against the Vegas Golden Knights. Vegas holds a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven First Round series. 


Corey Crawford stopped a postseason regulation career-high 48 shots to lift the Blackhawks to a 3-1 win on Sunday night in Game 4, their first victory in the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Drake Caggiula and Matthew Highmore gave Chicago a 2-0 lead in the first period before Shea Theodore answered 18 seconds after the latter to slice Chicago's lead to 2-1. The teams were scoreless throughout the second and third until Alex DeBrincat scored his first playoff goal with an empty netter to seal the win.

Video: Sights and Sounds from Game 4


It's expected that Jeremy Colliton will return to the same look from the Game 4 victory on Sunday night:

Kubalik - Toews - Saad
Caggiula - Dach - Kane
DeBrincat - Strome - Nylander
Highmore - Kampf - Carpenter

Keith - Murphy
de Haan - Boqvist 
Maatta - Koekkoek



A little momentum can go a long way in flipping the script in a best-of-seven series. Chicago has some now following their Game 4 victory and hopes to ride that wave into Game 5 against Vegas. 

"It's just nice to get the first one and get a little momentum and a little belief," Crawford said succinctly after Game 4. 

"We're in the series still and have a chance to come back," Colliton concurred. "Now we get the chance to take momentum in the series and put some pressure on them." 

The Blackhawks felt the 3-0 hole after the opening three games were not an accurate depiction of the series - one Colliton said they had been in the whole way to that point. Sunday wasn't a pretty win overall -- "stole" being a word used more than once to describe it -- while relying a little too heavily on strong goaltending from Crawford and his 48 saves on the night. But a win is a win and there's finally something to show in the win column for the work done in the opening three losses. 

If they can build on the victory and get the same end result in Game 5, it would blow the series wide open heading into the final two games.

"It's a big win and we're going to try to keep building and be as good as we can," Keith said Sunday. "We're going to have to be better for the next game."

"We're here to win. We're here to compete and we want to beat them," Colliton said. "Just happy with the character of our group. It wasn't easy, (Sunday) they were really good for two periods in particular, but we found a way to win."

Video: Colliton on PK, Boqvist


The Blackhawks penalty kill played a big role in closing out the Qualifying Round series against Edmonton -- going a perfect 5-for-5 in the clinching game -- and has only continued to rise to the occasion against the Golden Knights, thwarting all nine Vegas power plays to date in the series. 

"I think it always starts with your goalie. 'Crow' gives us a lot of confidence," said penalty kill specialist Ryan Carpenter. "Eventually you're going to give up some shots and some chances (to) the power play. You try to limit it as much as you can and stick to the details and getting your clears and being in shot lanes and really making it hard for them to generate chances, but I think he's bailed us out when they've gotten some of those Grade-A chances."

Yes, among Crawford's 48 saves in Game 4, he was a perfect 9-for-9 on shots across Vegas' three power plays. But there were also another five chances that Crawford didn't face while on the kill because one of his four brethren in red stopped the puck en route. 

"We've got a lot of guys contributing," Colliton said of his PK's success. "The goaltender is a big part of it, he's been really good. (We) talk about getting clears, making sure to get the puck 200 feet down every time we get a chance. The biggest thing is just winning the battles around the net on loose pucks, rebounds (and) letting 'Crow' see as much as possible. Everyone's doing a great job."

All told, the Blackhawks penalty kill is 20-for-22 (90.9%) since finishing Game 1 against the Oilers with a 1-for-4 debut against the league's top power play. And Carpenter hopes it will only continue to improve and further boost the team's overall play. 

"In the Edmonton series, we weren't happy with how we started," he said. "I think we were going a lot of things right, but we were just focusing on getting better whether we're having the results or not. I think it's starting to show a little bit but it's going to continue to be a huge factor in this series and we need to have a huge performance in Game 5."

Video: Carpenter on the penalty kill


The Blackhawks blocked 32 shots in Sunday's contest, led by Calvin de Haan's five blocks. The team mark set a franchise record and was the ninth instance since 2002-03, when the NHL began tracking blocked shots, of a team blocking at least 32 shots in a playoff game that did not require overtime. de Haan paces Chicago in blocked shots during the playoffs with 25, which shares fourth among NHL skaters.

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