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Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks look to avoid series sweep to Predators in Game 4 tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks look to avoid series sweep to Predators in Game 4 tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Nashville Predators in Game 4 tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage starts with Pregame Live at 6 p.m. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

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Five Things to Watch:

1. Blackhawks fighting history.

By the end of this series, the Blackhawks will either make history or be just another statistic. Only four teams in NHL history have overcome a 3-0 deficit in a seven-games series out of 185 tries (2.16 percent success rate): Toronto Maple Leafs (1942), New York Islanders (1975), Philadelphia Flyers (2010) and Los Angeles Kings (2014). The Maple Leafs and Kings won the Stanley Cup that year, while the Flyers went on to reach the Stanley Cup Final against ... the Blackhawks. Peter Laviolette was also Philadelphia's coach that season.

The Blackhawks have seemingly been through it all under Joel Quenneville, but they've never fallen into a 3-0 hole while losing the first two at home. The one time they did trail 3-0 in a series, they rallied to force a Game 7 before falling in overtime to the Vancouver Canucks in 2011. 

2. A shake-up on defense?

With their backs against the wall, the Blackhawks might be making a change on defense. Michal Kempny was skating with Brent Seabrook on the second pairing during Wednesday's practice while trade deadline acquisition Johnny Oduya was the odd man out. All signs point to Kempny playing in his first career playoff game. Oduya has a combined minus-3 rating in the last two games, and has struggled to keep up with the Predators' speed.

3. Filip Forsberg.

Nashville's entire first line of Forsberg, Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson has been dominant against the Blackhawks, but Forsberg has been giving this group fits at Bridgestone Arena in the postseason. In his last three home playoff games against the Blackhawks (dating back to their first-round matchup in 2015), Forsberg has six goals and an assist along with 13 shots on goal. He's been lights out so far, and is a big reason the Predators are up 3-0 in the series.

4. Sustaining strong starts.

In all three games, the Blackhawks have really dictated the pace of play in the first five minutes or so, but they haven'y been able to sustain it for very long. In Game 1, they recorded only one shot on goal in the final 14 minutes of the first period. In Game 3, they allowed 35 shot attempts (18 on goal) in the opening frame. Getting the first goal is important, but playing their game for a long stretch consistently is what generates momentum. They haven't been able to do that yet.

5. And stronger finishes.

The Blackhawks have been close to impossible to beat over the last three years when leading after two periods, but suffered a rare loss in that department after they let a two-goal lead slip away in Game 3 and fell in overtime. The Predators haven't taken their foot off the gas at any moment this series because no lead is safe in the playoffs, especially against the Blackhawks. It's time for Chicago to do the same.

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Why the Stanley Cup was late to Blackhawks' 2015 Game 6 win over Lightning

Why the Stanley Cup was late to Blackhawks' 2015 Game 6 win over Lightning

Out of tradition and superstition, the Stanley Cup is never in the building until after puck drop during a Stanley Cup Final game in which it could be won, unless it's a Game 7 when both teams have a shot.

On June 15 in 2015, when the Blackhawks won their sixth Stanley Cup in franchise history, old Stanley was a little late to his own party at the United Center.

As the Keeper of the Cup Philip Pritchard tells host Pat Boyle on the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, fans were already celebrating the Hawks Cup-clinching win over the Lightning outside the UC as the trophy was pulling in.

Broadcasters 'Doc' Emrick and Eddie Olczyk were filling time waiting for the Cup to arrive, which was still absent during the handshake line.

According to Pritchard, the Cup left the hotel around puck drop and it was the stormy weather that made the Keeper and the best trophy in sports tardy for the celebration.

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"People that weren't (at the game yet) were in traffic and just leaving their cars and walking and the roads were flooded, the highways were flooded, the bypass was like a lake. And as we were coming out towards the arena, we realized then that we were going to need some help, not just Mother Nature help, but we're going to need security help with it as well," Pritchard said.

"As we pulled into the arena — obviously the game had finished and the Blackhawks won — the home team's going nuts, the hometown fans are going crazy. So we presented (the Conn Smythe) to Duncan Keith and then we brought the Stanley Cup out and I remember on the ice talking to Jonathan Toews and he said, 'That was so cool that it took so long and the fans were loving it.' And I was telling him what went on and he goes, 'Really? I just thought it was part of the effect.'"

Report: NHL 2020 training camp, hub city report, playoff start dates emerge

Report: NHL 2020 training camp, hub city report, playoff start dates emerge

Friday, TSN's Bob McKenzie reported some key dates being targeted for the NHL's Return To Play plan, including the start of the 24-team playoff format.

McKenzie said the new slated date for team training camps (Phase 3) is July 13. Teams would report to the hub cities (reportedly Edmonton and Toronto) on July 26 with games and Phase 4 beginning on August 1. 

Bob also shed some light on when Phase 2 of the NHL Draft Lottery and the conclusion of the playoffs may pan out.

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"The second phase of the NHL draft lottery will occur immediately following the best-of-five, play-in qualifying series, so around Aug. 10-12 if all were to go well. Stanley Cup final would wrap up in early October. NHL draft would happen soon after that," he tweeted Friday.

Related: Report: Edmonton expected to host Stanley Cup Final

In Phase 1, the No. 1 overall pick for the 2020 NHL Draft went to a placeholder team. Each of the eight teams that lose in the qualifying round of the postseason format will have a 12.5 percent chance of getting the top pick in Phase 2. 

Related: What if Blackhawks get No. 1 pick and select Alexis LaFreniere?