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Blackhawks know they need to be better in Game 2

by Brian Hedger /

NASHVILLE -- The Chicago Blackhawks have a 1-0 lead in a best-of-7 series against the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference First Round, but left a lot of room for improvement heading into Game 2 at Bridgestone Arena on Friday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, SN360, TVA Sports 3, CSN-CH, SPSO).

They're looking for a better start in front of goalie Corey Crawford, who was pulled after giving up three goals in the first period of Game 1, and they're hoping not to spend as much time in the penalty box.

Each team was whistled for six penalties in Game 1, and the Blackhawks know that's not a winning formula long-term.

"I don't think we can go on thinking that you put that team on the power play six times and you're going to be in the right spot at the end," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said after Chicago's morning skate. "They've got too many weapons on their power play, too many looks."

The Blackhawks had 596 penalty minutes in the regular season, second-fewest in the League, while the Predators had the fifth-fewest with 693. Each coach will put added emphasis on staying out of the box in Game 2, simply because of how it impacts their playing styles.

"Traditionally we don't get a lot of penalties and we don't have to kill a lot," Quenneville said. "That's [an] abnormal number and it kind of [results in] a skewed number in the minutes. Certain guys don't get the quantity and the quality [of ice time] they're used to, and it changes a little bit of that four-line rotation we like."

The other big area of emphasis for the Blackhawks is how they play in the defensive zone to start the game. They were outplayed in the first period of Game 1, which led to Crawford's early exit. Considering how often Crawford has saved the day for his teammates, they're looking to make amends.

"Put it this way: we weren't happy the way we played in front of him in the first period," Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa said. "We didn't help him at all. [Quenneville] decided to change goalies. It worked out. But we know we have to play much better no matter who is in the net."

Quenneville said his lineup likely will be the same as Game 1.

Here are the projected lineups:


Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa

Kris Versteeg - Brad Richards - Patrick Kane

Bryan Bickell - Andrew Shaw - Patrick Sharp

Joakim Nordstrom - Marcus Kruger - Teuvo Teravainen

Johnny Oduya - Niklas Hjalmarsson

Duncan Keith - Michal Rozsival

Kimmo Timonen - Brent Seabrook

Corey Crawford

Scott Darling

Scratched: Antoine Vermette, Andrew Desjardins, David Rundblad, Kyle Cumiskey, Antti Raanta, Michael Paliotta

Injured: Daniel Carcillo (upper body)


Filip Forsberg - Mike Ribeiro - Craig Smith

Colin Wilson - Matt Cullen - James Neal

Mike Santorelli - Calle Jarnkrok - Viktor Stalberg

Gabriel Bourque - Paul Gaustad - Taylor Beck

Roman Josi - Shea Weber

Mattias Ekholm - Ryan Ellis

Seth Jones - Cody Franson

Pekka Rinne

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Victor Bartley, Anton Volchenkov, Kevin Fiala

Injured: Eric Nystrom (lower body), Mike Fisher (lower body)

Status report: Vermette and Desjardins again skated as fourth members of the third and fourth lines during line rushes, but Quenneville said Vermette is unlikely to draw back into the lineup. Vermette and Desjardins, who were acquired in trades at the NHL Trade Deadline, were scratched in Game 1 as well.

Who's hot: Sharp scored a goal in Game 1 and also scored a goal in the final game of the regular season.

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