Skip to main content


Blackhawks look for second road win at Predators

by Brian Hedger /


TV: NBCSN, SN, SN360, TVA Sports 3, CSN-CH, SPSO

Chicago leads best-of-7 series 1-0

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators don't want to place too much importance on Game 2 of the Western Conference First Round at Bridgestone Arena on Friday, but they know how tough it would be to climb out of a 2-0 hole against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks have a mountain of experience in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the series will shift to United Center for Games 3 and 4. After Nashville coughed up a 3-0 lead and lost Game 1 in the second overtime, it could use a jolt of momentum with a win Friday (9:30 p.m. ET).

"It's a really big game for both teams, but especially for us," Predators goalie Pekka Rinne said. "Getting to have another chance to play at home, I think this is a building where we love to play. [It's] just another opportunity for us to come back and even the series, so it's a great opportunity for us."

The flip side is the opportunity the Blackhawks have. Using a great relief performance by rookie goalie Scott Darling to steal Game 1, they can take a commanding lead back to Chicago.

Goalie Corey Crawford, not Darling, will start. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville made no hesitation announcing that decision Thursday, despite pulling Crawford after he allowed three goals on 12 shots in the first period Wednesday.

Darling made 42 saves, but Crawford helped the Blackhawks win the 2013 Stanley Cup championship and earn a share of the Jennings Trophy for fewest goals allowed by a team this season.

"It was kind of a no-brainer," Quenneville said. "In that situation [Wednesday], there's no book to look in and say, 'OK, what should I do at this moment?' It's a feel thing and it's not something that we're accustomed to doing, but the decision to go back with Corey [on Friday] was very easy."

Quenneville said he's not likely to make other lineup changes, which means forward Antoine Vermette will probably be a healthy scratch again. It also means defenseman Michal Rozsival will likely play, despite some coverage issues in Game 1. His most egregious error led to the first of two goals by Nashville forward Colin Wilson.

Predators coach Peter Laviolette said center Mike Fisher is day-to-day with a lower-body injury that forced him to leave Game 1 after one shift in the second period. Laviolette didn't have an update about defenseman Cody Franson, who missed the first game with an upper-body injury.

"Mike fills a lot of roles for us," Laviolette said. "Having him in the lineup is a big part of our team. He's a leader on and off the ice, [and] plays just about just about every situational play that you can think of for your team, so certainly he's a big part of our team."

View More