BLACKHAWKS at PREDATORS
TV: NBCSN, SN360, TVA Sports 3, CSN-CH, FS-TN
Chicago leads best-of-7 series 3-1
The Chicago Blackhawks will try to eliminate the Nashville Predators from the Stanley Cup Playoffs in Game 5 at Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday and advance to the Western Conference Second Round for the third straight season and fifth time in seven seasons.
Chicago defeated Nashville 3-2 in triple overtime in Game 3 at United Center on Tuesday to take a 3-1 lead in this best-of-7 series on a goal by defenseman Brent Seabrook.
"I think every game has gotten tougher and tougher as we've gone along in the series," forward Jonathan Toews told the Blackhawks website Wednesday. "[Thursday] will be the toughest game. That team has a lot of pride, a lot of ability. I don't think any team wants to get knocked out of the playoffs and have their season end."
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said goalie Scott Darling would start and the rest of the lineup likely would be the same as Game 4.
Darling made 50 saves in Game 4 and has allowed four goals on 131 shots (.969 save percentage) while replacing Corey Crawford.
"I remember from training camp, just being so impressed by how [Darling] played," Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith said. "… Now that he's in this position he definitely appreciates it. You can see that in his face and just the way he carries himself."
Chicago would have two more chances to win the series should they fail to win Game 5.
"I look at it that you don't ever want to play any extra games." Quenneville said. "You want to get it done as quickly as possible."
Forward Brad Richards agreed.
"The reality is, they don't win and they are out," Richards said. "But we do have more chances. … You never want to give a team another chance."
Nashville, which did not practice Wednesday after arriving home late in the afternoon, was a Western Conference-best 28-9-4 at Bridgestone Arena in the regular season, and could get one or two players back in the lineup. Defenseman Shea Weber, who sustained a lower-body injury in Game 2, did not travel to Chicago for Games 3 and 4. His status for Game 5 is unknown. Forward Mike Fisher sustained a lower-body injury in Game 2 and could return.
"We have to put it behind us as soon as possible," defenseman Roman Josi said after Game 4. "This isn't over, so we have to look forward to Game 5."