NHL

Blackhawks try to rebound in Game 2 against Preds on TSN

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The Sports Network
4/18/2010 11:52:29 AM
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(Sports Network) - The second-seeded Chicago Blackhawks will try to bounce back from a shocking loss when they host the Nashville Predators at United Center for Game 2 of the Western Conference quarterfinals.

Tune in for all the action at 8:30pm et/5:30pm pt on TSN and TSN HD.

The Blackhawks, who were third in the NHL with 112 points this year, did not open the 2010 postseason on a positive note, dropping a 4-1 decision to visiting Nashville on Friday.

Chicago actually led the seventh-seeded Predators, 1-0, after two periods, but Nashville exploded for four goals over the final 20 minutes. J.P. Dumont scored twice for Nashville during the third-period barrage and helped the Predators earn the first road playoff win in team history (1-10).

Jerred Smithson and Martin Erat each added an empty-net goal in the final minute and David Legwand had two assists for the Predators. Pekka Rinne made 25 saves to pick up the win in his postseason debut.

The Predators are 0-4 all-time in playoff series and their 1-0 lead in this best-of-seven set marks just the second time they've ever led a series. Nashville also won the first game of the 2006 conference quarters against San Jose, but the Sharks won the next four games to move onto the second round.

"We still have a lot of work ahead of us," said Nashville forward Steve Sullivan. "We're happy we got the first win. We know (the Blackhawks) are going to be a much more focused club."

Patrick Kane lit the lamp in the second period for the Central champion Blackhawks, who set franchise records with 52 wins and 112 points en route to their first division title since claiming the Norris back in 1993. Chicago enters this postseason as one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup after losing in the conference finals last year to Detroit.

"(The Predators) play a tight defensive game," Kane said. "There's not too many plays where you get an odd-man rush or free chances in the slot. They're a tough team to play against. Hopefully, we can learn from this game."

Like his counterpart and fellow Finn, Chicago rookie Antti Niemi was making his playoff debut and stopped 22 shots.

The Game 1 meeting was the first between the division rivals since Dec. 27, when the Blackhawks posted a 5-4 home win to win the season series 4-2. Chicago won twice at home in the series and twice in Nashville.

The clubs have never met in the playoffs before this series.

The Blackhawks were 29-8-4 as the host this year, while Nashville was 23-15-3 as the visiting team during the regular season. The Predators will host the next two games in this series, beginning with Tuesday's Game 3 encounter at Bridgestone Arena.

Nashville will hope to have defenseman Denis Grebeshkov back tonight. The Russian blueliner has been sidelined since March 7 with a a groin injury, but is questionable for this evening's tilt. Grebeshkov, who was acquired from Edmonton at the trade deadline, had 21 points in 51 games for the Oilers and Predators this season.

 

Jonathan Toews (Photo: Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
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