Nashville Predators vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Western Conference Quarterfinal Series, Nashville leads 2-1
Bridgestone Arena, 7:30 pm CST
TV: Fox Sports Tennessee (HD) Radio: 104.5 The Zone, Predators Radio Network
Both teams realize the importance of tonight’s game. Nashville has a chance to really take control of the series, and Chicago wants to seize home ice advantage once again in the series. If the Predators are able to jump ahead two games in the series, it would mean that the team would have three shots at wrapping things up starting Saturday (2 pm CST, NBC) at Chicago and securing the first playoff series win in franchise history.
HOWEVER, let’s not put the cart before the horse. I expect the Blackhawks to come out tonight more fired up than ever. They will bring a lot of anger and a need to atone for the mistakes of Game Three into a hostile environment of towel-waving Preds fans. Trust me when I say that the Blackhawks know they gave a very poor effort and are more than ready to make up for it.
Part of turning it around for Chicago may start with inserting Adam Burish into the lineup tonight. He is definitely raring to go and is as fired up as anyone, which might give the Blackhawks a boost not only on the ice but in the room as well. He wants to win, wants to be a part of it, and is looking to make the most of his chance tonight to get involved in the series. He’s a player to keep an eye on tonight.
The other thing the Hawks need is more production from names like Hossa, Toews, and Sharp. Patrick Kane has chipped in for the most part but otherwise, the Hawks haven’t seen the big names step up and play important roles for this club.
On Nashville’s end, the Predators know they need to play physical hockey and really attack the Hawks once again. It worked like a charm in Game Three as the constant barrage of hits put the brakes on the Blackhawks run-and-gun style. That will have to once again be a solid hallmark of the contest to earn a win.Notes:
Keys to the Game
- Brian Campbell skated today and will take warmups before any decision is made on his status tonight.
- Patric Hornqvist remains out with an upper body injury. Denis Grebeshkov has been cleared to play but will not dress tonight.
- Martin Erat’s penalty shot goal in Game Three was the first-ever successful post-season attempt by the Preds. Steve Sullivan had the only other chance in Preds playoff history back on April 7, 2004 and was stopped by Manny Legace.
- Pekka Rinne’s 1.35 GAA, .953 save % and .970 even-strength save % leads the NHL playoffs this year.
- Bring that physical element right back out on the ice. Get fired up and use the energy to your advantage!
- Get pucks up on Niemi, just like Erat did. Corners are starting to appear.
- You the fans! You are key #3 so bring it and be loud tonight!