NHL.com: It's go-time for Blackhawks and Predators

Friday, 04.16.2010 / 3:57 PM CT / Nashville Predators Playoffs Coverage
NHL.com
X
Share with your Friends


NHL.com: It\'s go-time for Blackhawks and Predators
false
CHICAGO -- The wait is almost over and now the nerves take hold for both the Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators.
 
Both teams went through their morning skates Friday without issue, met with reporters and now have a few more hours to wait before they get the League's last Stanley Cup Playoffs series started at what's expected to be a raucous, packed United Center.
 
The Hawks especially seemed antsy to drop the puck.
 
"It happens every year, whether it's the first game of the year or the first playoff game," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "That's kind of a common thing. You've got the jitters. You're anxious. You're nervous. You can't wait to get going. I think that's a good thing."
 
The Predators have played even less hockey than the Hawks in the past two weeks -- two games in the last 13 days to be exact.
 
"We're well rested," Nashville center Steve Sullivan said. "We're itching to go."
 
Predators coach Barry Trotz said that banged-up winger Patric Hornqvist and defenseman Denis Grebeshkov are cleared to play.
 
For Chicago, Quenneville said that defenseman Brian Campbell (broken collarbone, rib) will likely be out for the first couple games, but practiced with the team for the third-straight day. Hawks defenseman Kim Johnsson (upper body) is still not close to returning, though.
 
As for the game, both teams plan to come out flying.
 
"We're a very aggressive team and we like to have the puck," said Hawks forward Troy Brouwer, who will be playing for the first time after missing four games attending to his ill father in Vancouver. "We're going to come out hard right away and set the tone in our building. I'm sure during the anthem it's going to be pretty loud in here."
 
Overcoming that surge will be key for No.7 seed Nashville.
 
"Number 1, for us, is to make sure we're ready and not intimidated by the skill and speed of the Chicago Blackhawks," Trotz said. "It's having the right mind-set. Our team, our organization, is not built on flash and dash. We keep it close to the vest and do our thing. We've got lofty goals and the lofty goal is to win the series."
 
Happy return -- Steve Sullivan played for Chicago from 1999 to 2004 and helped the Hawks make the 2002 playoffs.
 
His time spent with Chicago, however, was largely in a losing effort. That's why he had kind words about what the Hawks have accomplished since being dealt away in 2004.
 
"What a great turnaround," said Sullivan, the Preds' co-leader in points with 51. "This city needed it. It's such a great city. It's such a great organization. It's got such a great history, that it deserves it. I'm very happy for both the organization and the city that they have a great hockey club."
 
Parity rules -- Nashville's Ryan Suter thinks this week's plentiful "upsets" prove only how far the talent is spread throughout the League.
 
The Predators are the No.7 seed in the Western Conference, yet finished with 100 points.
 
"Every team is good," Suter said. "Every team brings something different. That's very important when it comes to the playoffs. Any team can win. It doesn't matter whether you're (seeded) first or last."
 
Just kidding -- Patrick Kane has now added something to his "Joe Dirt" Playoffs mullet to send a message to those who think he's completely lost his mind.
 
"People were looking at me like, 'Is he serious with that haircut or is that just a joke?' " Kane said. "So, I just tried to add the steps in there to solidify that it is a joke."
 
Regardless, his mother and sisters were not pleased when they saw it.
 
"They were like, 'Oh, shave it off!' " he said.

Author: Brian Hedger | NHL.com Correspondent

SCHEDULE
 

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 26 37 15 63
M. Ribeiro 82 15 47 11 62
R. Josi 81 15 40 15 55
S. Weber 78 15 30 15 45
C. Smith 82 23 21 11 44
C. Wilson 77 20 22 19 42
M. Fisher 59 19 20 4 39
J. Neal 67 23 14 12 37
R. Ellis 58 9 18 8 27
S. Jones 82 8 19 3 27
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 41 17 6 .923 2.18
C. Hutton 6 7 4 .902 2.61