Being down 1-0 in a series isn't ideal, but the Blackhawks aren't sweating it. Still, if they want to grab a split heading to the Nashville portion of this series, the Blackhawks will have to play much better than they did on Thursday.
Dennis Rasmussen will make his NHL postseason debut and Ryan Hartman will be back on the top line as the Blackhawks host the Predators in Game 2 of their first-round series on Saturday night. The Blackhawks didn't mount much of a net-front attack in Game 1, a situation exacerbated by the Predators' strong defensive game – they blocked 26 shots.
"Our defensemen did a nice job of trying to tie up sticks or get stick on puck. That'll probably hold true the rest of the series: we'll have to play them tight defensively," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. "They're an offensive group that's dynamic and been together for a while – at least the core has – and they're capable of generating a lot of offense. That leads itself back to playing good defense. We did it well in Game 1 we're going to have to do it well tonight."
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The Blackhawks will have to fight to get past the Predators' defense, which stifled them in Game 1. Their overall game, however, needs to be better.
"I think just our level of intensity has to go up. Be harder on pucks," Brian Campbell said. "Obviously getting pucks to the net and creating traffic and havoc. those are the keys that come with desperation."
The Blackhawks have been here, done this before in series, although it's been a while since they've trailed 1-0 when starting a series at home. Going back to 2009, here's how the Blackhawks have fared in postseason series when losing Game 1:
Year Opponent Game 1 Series result
2016 @STL L 1-0 (OT) Lost series in 7
2015 @ANA L 4-1 Won series in 7
2014 @STL L 4-3 (3OT) Won series in 6
2012 @ARI L 3-2 (OT) Lost series in 6
2011 @VAN L 2-0 Lost series in 7
2010 NSH L 4-1 Won series in 6
2010 VAN L 5-1 Won series in 6
2009 @VAN L 5-3 Won series in 6
2009 @DET L 5-2 Lost series in 5
Concern? Yes. Panic? No. But the Blackhawks will need veterans and postseason rookies alike to mesh.
"I feel we have a lot of great leaders who have been around a long time. It helps the young guys, me included, who haven't played a lot of playoff games," Rasmussen said. "We've had some talks here. We're still calm and know what to do out there. We have to bring some more traffic at the net, create more shots and better chances. Hopefully we can do that tonight."
Meanwhile on the injury front, Andrew Desjardins has not started skating yet but coach Joel Quenneville said the forward is "pretty close" to doing so.
BLACKHAWKS VS. NASHVILLE PREDATORS
Live Stream: NBC Sports app
Radio: WGN 720 AM
Ryan Hartman-Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik
Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane
Nick Schmaltz-Marcus Kruger-Marian Hossa
Dennis Rasmussen-Tanner Kero-Jordin Tootoo
Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Johnny Oduya-Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell-Trevor van Riemsdyk
INJURIES/ILLNESS: Michal Rozsival (facial fractures), Andrew Desjardins (lower body).
Forward lines (projected/Predators had optional skate)
Filip Forsberg-Ryan Johansen-Viktor Arvidsson
Kevin Fiala-Mike Fisher-James Neal
Pontus Aberg-Calle Jarnkrok-Craig Smith
Cody McLeod-Colton Sissons-Austin Watson
Roman Josi-Ryan Ellis
Mattias Ekholm-P.K. Subban
Yannick Weber-Matt Irwin
INJURIES/ILLNESS: Colin Wilson (lower body).