Blackhawks

Changes 'unlikely' for Blackhawks in Game 2 against Predators

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Changes 'unlikely' for Blackhawks in Game 2 against Predators

NASHVILLE – The Blackhawks have always put a premium on starting well. Considering what happened in Game 1, it was stressed that much more on Friday.

Corey Crawford is back in net and any other lineup changes are “unlikely,” according to coach Joel Quenneville, when the Blackhawks face the Nashville Predators in Game 2 of their Round 1 series at Bridgestone Arena. The Blackhawks had a forgettable start to Game 1, when Nashville got off to a 3-0 lead and Crawford was pulled for Scott Darling.

“We only can get better from that first game,” Bryan Bickell said. “They’ve come out flying in the first every game we’ve played them here. They don’t want to lose and go into our building down 2-0, so we need to match the intensity.”

[MORE HAWKS: Konroyd's keys to a Game 2 win in Nashville]

Said Marian Hossa, “We have to play better defensively, help our goalie. We didn’t help crow at all.”

Conversely, the Predators are trying to avoid their second period from Game 1. The Blackhawks stormed back to tie it, 3-3, scoring two of their goals on power plays (5-on-3 and 5-on-4). Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said the Predators have to stay more disciplined.

“I don’t think you can go to the penalty box often against a team like Chicago with the skill set and personnel they have and be happy with the results,” he said. “Certainly, the second periods haven’t been our strongest lately. There are things we can do better.”

BRIEFLY

- Darling understood why Quenneville went back to Crawford for this game and sees the Blackhawks’ No. 1 goaltender responding. “I think Crow’s going to play great tonight,” said Darling, who said goalies just have to roll with the pressure, bad periods and goals. “We’ve all been there. Things don’t go your way sometimes and you’re put under the microscope but you have to block it all out and get ready to go.”

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-Antoine Vermette will be a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game. Andrew Desjardins, David Rundblad, Kyle Cumiskey and Michael Paliotta are also expected to be healthy scratches for Game 2.

-According to The Tennessean, Mike Fisher is likely out for Game 2. Fisher suffered a lower-body injury during Game 1 and did not return.

Are Canadiens eyeing possible trade with Blackhawks?

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USA Today

Are Canadiens eyeing possible trade with Blackhawks?

The NHL trade deadline isn’t for another two-plus months, but this is an important time of year because all 31 teams have a pretty good idea of what its roster is as the standings take shape going into the 2020 calendar year. 

Management groups across the league are starting to gather more information and dig deeper on players they could be interested in ahead of the Feb. 24 deadline, whether it’s a buyer or a seller.

One frequent observer in Chicago has been the Montreal Canadiens, who have heavily scouted both the Blackhawks and Rockford IceHogs in the American Hockey League. Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin has been spotted multiple times at the United Center this season, including Sunday, and has made several trips to Rockford as well.

It’s believed the Canadiens are searching for a left-handed shot defenseman and that’s a position the Blackhawks have a surplus of. Erik Gustafsson, most notably, is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and there haven’t been any talks about a possible extension to this point, according to a source.

With Drake Caggiula (concussion protocol), Duncan Keith (groin) and Andrew Shaw (concussion protocol) sidelined, the Blackhawks have had the opportunity to evaluate some of their prospects at the NHL level recently.

Dennis Gilbert and Anton Wedin have gotten several looks already, and same with Adam Boqvist and Matthew Highmore, both of whom were recalled on Monday ahead of the Blackhawks' three-game road trip. Dylan Sikura was called up over the weekend and made his season debut on Sunday against the Arizona Coyotes.

It’s too early to speculate what the Blackhawks’ trade-deadline plans may be because it will likely be determined by where they sit in the standings come February, but it’s worth monitoring going forward, as we discussed on the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast. The Blackhawks and Canadiens are each five points out of a playoff spot in their respective conferences.

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Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Why are the Blackhawks so inconsistent?

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USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Why are the Blackhawks so inconsistent?

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Charlie Roumeliotis and Nick Gismondi discuss the coaches getting involved in practice (0:40), the latest roster moves (2:45), Dennis Gilbert standing up for Alex DeBrincat (7:15), Robin Lehner's shootout struggles (13:45), the Blackhawks' inconsistency woes (17:45), performance vs. results (23:50) and the importance of the next eight games (27:35).

Listen to the full episode here or in the embedded player below:

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.