Blackhawks

'The hardest game': Blackhawks look to finish Predators

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'The hardest game': Blackhawks look to finish Predators

The Blackhawks were a tired but happy group on Tuesday night — make that Wednesday morning — taking a 3-2 triple-overtime victory over the Nashville Predators and a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

This series hasn’t been an easy one, for sure. Now comes the really difficult part: closing out the Predators for good.

“Always, the hardest game is to close out a team,” Brad Richards said. “Every day it’s the same: it’s the biggest game of the year and it’s going to be the toughest test of the year. As tough as last night was to win, it’s probably going to be a lot tougher tomorrow to win, especially in their building.”

[MORE: Predators 'will not go away quietly' after Game 4 loss]

The Predators will be like a cornered animal on Thursday night: they’re going to scratch, claw and do everything they can to keep this series going. As Richards said, the Blackhawks need to match that desperation because the last thing they want to do is give the Predators a second wind.

“You have to get better each game. You can’t think how you played the last game is going to be good enough to be successful the next one. That has to be our message,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Nashville’s played hard every single night, that’s how close it’s been. And we expect another battle right from the outset. We’ll need everyone and we’ll need our best.”

The Blackhawks are usually good at closing series out when they have the opportunity. With two contests going multiple overtimes, even getting to this point hasn’t been easy. The Predators have been without forward Mike Fisher for all four games and defenseman Shea Weber for the last two-plus contests, yet they’ve been right there. They’ll be desperate to keep this going. Jonathan Toews also said the Blackhawks need to match that emotion.

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“We can try and find that desperation where we can put ourselves in their position, where these games are as important for us as they are for them, knowing that if we don’t find ways to finish this series off that it’s going to get tougher and tougher for us and more and more pressure will be on us as well,” he said. “Not that we want to add any pressure, but I just think we need to have that urgency that tomorrow needs to be our best game of the series.”

The Blackhawks don’t want this series going any longer than necessary. It’s already been lengthy, with Game 1 going double overtime and Game 3 triple overtime. They’ve got the chance to close. They want to capitalize on it.

“It’s going to be a tough game to play,” Duncan Keith said. “We know their crowd is going to be into it and they’re going to be pumped up to play in front of their crowd now. We’ve been in these situations before, going on the road and trying to close it out, and we’ll try to use that experience a little bit. At the same time, [it’s] just focusing on having a good start and then going one shift at a time like we’ve done throughout this series.”

Blackhawks' jersey voted best in NHL by NHLPA poll

Blackhawks' jersey voted best in NHL by NHLPA poll

The 2019-20 NHLPA Players' Poll was released on Tuesday morning and despite no individual nods, which Chicago has been accustomed to in the past, Blackhawks fans will be happy to see the Hawks win one key franchise award: best jersey.

The Blackhawks demolished the competition in this category winning 28.25% of the vote. The Vegas Golden Knights and Toronto Maple Leafs tied for second place at 6.83% for their sweaters.

Nearly 600 NHL players were surveyed prior to the NHL pause for a variety of league-related categories for the poll.  

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Hawks Rewind: Blackhawks-Canucks Game 6 of 2010 Western Conference Semifinals

Hawks Rewind: Blackhawks-Canucks Game 6 of 2010 Western Conference Semifinals

Tuesday at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago:

A heartbreaker for the Canucks and another decisive, confidence-building victory for the 2010 Blackhawks.

Following Game 5's 4-1 win at the United Center over Chicago, Vancouver had come within one in the series, making it 3-2 Hawks. The Blackhawks had won the previous three games.

After a 0-0 first period in Game 6 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, three consecutive unanswered goals in the second period put Chicago in good shape heading into the third. Troy Brouwer and Kris Versteeg scored within the first three minutes of the second and Dave Bolland added a goal with 45 seconds remaining in the frame.

After Shane O'Brien scored at 3:44 of the third for the Canucks, Patrick Kane lit the lamp at 8:17, followed by Dustin Byfuglien at 8:42 for the 5-1 final score.

Kane's Game 6 goal unleashed his now famous "heartbreaker" celebration where he outlines a heart with both gloves and punched through it. 

The Blackhawks won the series 4-2 and would be on their way to play the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Final. 

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.