(SportsNetwork.com) – The Chicago Blackhawks hope a change of scenery can help
them move past a lopsided loss they host the Nashville Predators in Sunday’s
Game 3 battle at United Center.
The Blackhawks rallied for a 4-3 double-overtime win in Game 1 of this Western
Conference quarterfinal series, but fell apart late in Friday’s 6-2 loss at
Chicago will try to regain the upper hand this afternoon in the first meeting
of the series in the Windy City.
Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville will make a change in net to Scott
Darling after a second straight rough outing for starting goaltender Corey
Crawford, who was pulled from the opener after allowing three goals in the
first period and then surrendered all six goals on 35 shots in Game 2.
Darling anchored the comeback win in Game 1, stopping all 42 shots after
replacing Crawford at the start of the second period. It was the playoff debut
for the 26-year-old rookie, who made 17 saves in the first OT period alone.
“Getting back in net is something he deserves given how well he played in that
game,” Quenneville said of Darling.
Crawford, who backstopped the Blackhawks to the 2013 Cup championship, has
given up nine goals on 47 shots over four periods thus far.
“It’s one of those nights where pucks were going in on him,” said Quenneville
after Game 2.
Filip Forsberg, Craig Smith and Mike Santorelli scored in a span of 2:19 late
in the third period on Friday to blow open a close game. Smith led the way
with two goals and one assist for the Predators.
Colin Wilson and Roman Josi also lit the lamp, Mike Ribeiro picked up two
helpers and Pekka Rinne halted 24 pucks.
“Right now I think we are plying good hockey,” Nashville head coach Peter
Laviolette said. “Going into Chicago is a big task for our group.”
The Preds will head into the United Center without captain Shea Weber, who
left Game 2 with a lower-body injury sustained midway through the second
period and did not return. The star defenseman was hurt after absorbing a
check from Chicago’s Brandon Saad and did not make the trip to Chicago.
Weber is expected to miss at least Games 3 and 4 and Seth Jones is expected to
take his place alongside Roman Josi on the top paring. Laviolette may use
either Anton Volchenkov or Victor Bartley to replace Weber on the roster.
Mike Fisher also sat out Friday’s tilt with a lower-body injury suffered in
Game 1 and the forward is questionable for Sunday.
Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane scored once each for the Blackhawks, who can
regain momentum back at United Center in Game 3 on Sunday afternoon.
“It’s a playoff series and things are going to be tough,” said Blackhawks
captain Jonathan Toews. “We just gave up a few too many odd-man rushes and
The Blackhawks went 3-1-0 versus the Predators this season and won both
meetings at the United Center beyond regulation.
Chicago and Nashville have met once previously in the postseason, a 2010
conference quarterfinal series that Chicago won in six games. The ‘Hawks won
the Stanley Cup that season, beating the Laviolette-coached Philadelphia
Flyers in the Finals.
Game 4 of this series is scheduled for Tuesday in Chicago.