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Predators not taking Blackhawks for granted

Ahead 3-0 in series, Nashville knows it can't allow Chicago to believe in comeback

by Robby Stanley / NHL.com Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators want to make sure they never give the Chicago Blackhawks a chance to believe that one win can change the complexion of their series.

The Predators lead the best-of-7 Western Conference First Round series 3-0, with Game 4 at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN360, TVA Sports 3, FS-TN). Nashville has a chance to sweep a Stanley Cup Playoff series for the first time, against Chicago, the top seed in the West.

"Obviously we're happy with the situation that we're in, but if there's one team that's as resilient as they are, it's the Blackhawks," Predators forward Ryan Johansen said. "Shift after shift, game after game, they come. It's not over yet."

 

[RELATED: Complete Predators vs. Blackhawks series coverage]

 

There have been four teams in NHL history to come back and win a series after trailing 3-0: the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, the 1975 New York Islanders, the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers and the 2014 Los Angeles Kings.

The Blackhawks trailed 3-0 in their first-round series against the Vancouver Canucks in 2011 and lost 2-1 in overtime in Game 7. The Predators know they need to take advantage of playing Game 4 at home and eliminate the Blackhawks before they get any life. Game 5 would be in Chicago on Saturday.

"It's huge, it's a big game," Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne said. "We just talked about it in the locker room. Obviously that's a world-class team and it's never easy to win a game against them. We have to just treat it the same way we've been going at it this whole series, one game at a time. It is going to be big, and I'm happy we have a crack at it at home too. That's going to be good for us."

The Predators have been able to handle everything the Blackhawks have thrown their way. Nashville won two games on the road battled back to win Game 3 3-2 in overtime on Monday after trailing 2-0 in the third period.

The Predators have allowed two goals in three games, including shutouts in Games 1 and 2. If they can continue that trend, they could advance to the Western Conference Second Round for the fourth time.

"I think any time somebody's back is up against the wall, you get their best," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "I thought Chicago played really well [in Game 3] so it's not like they brought their 'B' game [Monday] and saved their 'A' game for the elimination game. We saw a real good team on the ice, and we'll see the same thing I think again in Game 4."

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