Game Two: Chicago Blackhawks vs. Nashville Predators (CHI Leads Series 1-0)
8:30 P.M. | Bridgestone Arena
TV: SportSouth, NBCSN | Radio: 102.5 The Game | Nissan Pregame: 8 P.M.
After falling to the Chicago Blackhawks in double overtime in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals on Wednesday, the Nashville Predators look to even the series tonight in Game Two with the Hawks at Bridgestone Arena.
It's the second of two opening home contests for the Preds before jetting off to Chicago for Games Three and Four, set to take place on Sunday and Tuesday, respectively.
The Preds jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period on Wednesday night, but the Blackhawks scored three of their own in the middle frame. That was it for the tallies until Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith's shot from the point at the 87-minute mark found its way through a crowd and into the cage behind Pekka Rinne.
Neither club held a formal practice on Thursday. Instead, the Blackhawks held a media conference via phone, where Head Coach Joel Quenneville announced that Corey Crawford would start in goal for the Hawks in Game Two. Crawford was pulled after allowing three goals on 12 shots in the first period on Wednesday.
Nashville Head Coach Peter Laviolette stated during his press conference on Thursday that forward Mike Fisher, who left Game One with a lower-body injury and did not return, is day-to-day.
Forwards Mike Santorelli and Kevin Fiala, defensemen Cody Franson and Victor Bartley and goaltender Carter Hutton took part in an on-ice workout on Thursday.
Colin Wilson tallied Nashville’s opening goal of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs 6:07 into Wednesday night’s game and found the back of the net again with less than 30 seconds remaining in the first period. Wilson’s two goals tied the Predators franchise record for most goals in a playoff game.
In addition to his two goals, the Greenwich, Conn., native tallied six shots, tied for third on the team, two blocked shots and finished at an even 50 percent at the face-off dot.
Viktor Stalberg tallied his second career playoff goal on Wednesday night against the Hawks; his last playoff goal came as a member of the Blackhawks exactly four years prior to his second goal on April 15, 2011, a 4-3 Hawks loss to the Vancouver Canucks. In addition to his goal, Stalberg finished with a +1 rating and five hits, second on the team in the category.
A native of Gothenburg, Sweden, Stalberg played 32 postseason games with the Blackhawks from 2010-13, including playing 19 games with the club during its 2013 Stanley Cup run (3a).
Blackhawks Netminder Makes No Difference to Preds:
After being pulled in Game One, Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford will once again start Game Two for Chicago. Head Coach Joel Quenneville called the decision to start Crawford a “no brainer” on Thursday.
While the starter for the Hawks may be pertinent elsewhere, it was clear within the Preds room following Friday’s morning skate that it doesn’t matter to them who gets the nod for Chicago.
“There’s nothing we can do about it either way, so we’re just going to continue to put pucks at the net and do things that make us successful,” forward Matt Cullen said. “You really don’t change how you play depending on who’s in their net, so we’re just going to do what we do and try to get as many past them as we can.”
The Predators came to the rink on Thursday ready to forget about Game One and look ahead to tonight’s contest with a chance to even the series before heading to Chicago. The same held true after today’s morning skate, with a confident, business-like mood exuding from the Preds locker room.
“You can’t get too low after a loss,” defenseman Roman Josi said. “You want to win every game and that’s just not going to happen. [Game One] wasn’t the outcome we wanted, but we played a pretty solid game…we’re ready for Game Two and we’re a confident group.”
Having registered a postseason, franchise-record 54 shots on the Chicago net Wednesday night, the Preds know they’re more than capable of hanging with the Hawks, physically and mentally.
“I really like where our mind is honestly,” Cullen said. “We came in yesterday and talked about it and there’s a lot of things that are out of our control from last game. We have to focus on tonight and it makes the night even more important… We’re going to focus and try to get our game where it needs to be, get ready mentally and put our best game out there.”
Predators Game Day Video:Preds Players: Paul Gaustad, Cody Franson and Filip Forsberg
What to Watch for: Willy and Brent's Breakdown (with Kimmo Timonen appearance)
Coach Presser: Head Coach Peter Laviolette
Coach Presser: Head Coach Joel Quenneville
Morning Skate Update:
Mike Fisher (lower-body, day-to-day) and Eric Nystrom (lower-body) were absent from the Predators morning skate prior to Game Two. Cody Franson skated on a defense pairing with Seth Jones and said following the skate that he was, "looking forward to playing in a playoff game." Nashville Head Coach Peter Laviolette was noncommittal on if Mike Santorelli or Kevin Fiala would slot in on the third line tonight. Preds Morning Skate Lines:
Forsberg - Ribeiro - Smith
Wilson - Cullen - Neal
Santorelli - Jarnkrok - Stalberg (Fiala rotated in)
Bourque - Gaustad - BeckDefensemen:
Weber - Josi
Ekholm - Ellis
Jones - Franson
Extra: Volchenkov - BartleyGoaltenders:
Carter Hutton*Probable StarterChicago Projected Lineup:
Blackhawks Head Coach Joel Quenneville said via conference call on Thursday that he was not anticipating there would be any lineup changes
from Game One for Game Two. Corey Crawford will start in goal, while Antoine Vermette will remain a healthy scratch. Forwards:
Saad - Toews - Hossa
Versteeg - Richards - Kane
Bickell - Shaw - Sharp
Nordstrom - Kruger - TeravainenDefensemen:
Keith - Hjalmarsson
Oduya - Seabrook
Timonen - Rozsival Goaltenders:
Scott Darling/Antti Raanta*Probable Starter