Blackhawks

Michal Kempny, seven defensemen among the possibilities for Blackhawks in Game 4

Michal Kempny, seven defensemen among the possibilities for Blackhawks in Game 4

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Michal Kempny was in and out of the lineup throughout the regular season. Now, he might be playing in his first career NHL postseason game.

Kempny could be in, and the Blackhawks could go with seven defensemen when they face the Nashville Predators in Game 4 of their first-round series on Thursday night. The Blackhawks trail the Predators 3-0 and are trying to avoid being swept in a postseason series for the first time since 1993.

The Blackhawks' four-line rotation hasn't really been there through the first three games of this postseason, so bulking up on defense is the next option. Regardless of whether or not the Blackhawks go that route, however, coach Joel Quenneville said their puck possession has to be a lot better.

"Our puck decisions or strength in the puck area and relentlessness, when we have it going on all four lines, you're making them defend. But it seems like we're defending a lot more than we're accustomed to," Quenneville said. "We have to find a way to get bigger contributions from each line to get that consistency no matter if we have seven D or four lines."

Kempny played in two of the Blackhawks' final three regular-season games (at Colorado and Anaheim), but his last game prior to that was March 19. Kempny didn't know if he was in the lineup when he talked to the media, but he said that if he is, he'll be ready.

"If I would play, I would be very glad, and I would do my best, put 100 percent into the game," said Kempny through interpreter Igor Alfimov. Kempny added that it's been tough seeing where the Blackhawks are to this point.

"It's not a good feeling especially when you see your team losing, but I believe it's going to change today," he said.

If the Blackhawks go with six defensemen, there's a chance Kempny would be in for Johnny Oduya. Asked if Oduya has to be better, Quenneville once again said it's on everybody to be so, not just one player.

"Individually or collectively, from every single guy there's more. That's what we're going to need," he said. "To be our best we need everyone contributing in their own ways and being their best, and I think everyone has room for improvement."

Catch all the action from Nashville tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com and via the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

Projected lines and defensive pairs

Blackhawks

Forwards

Nick Schmaltz, Jonathan Toews, Richard Panik
Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov, Patrick Kane
Dennis Rasmussen, Marcus Kruger, Marian Hossa
Ryan Hartman, Tanner Kero, Jordin Tootoo

Defensemen

Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson
Michal Kempny and Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell and Trevor van Riemsdyk

Goaltender

Corey Crawford

Injuries and illness: Michal Rozsival (facial fractures), Andrew Desjardins (lower body)

Predators

Forwards

Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen, Viktor Arvidsson
Harry Zolnierczyk, Mike Fisher, Austin Watson
Kevin Fiala, Calle Jarnkrok, James Neal
​Pontus Aberg, Colton Sissons, Craig Smith

Defensemen

Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis
​Mattias Ekholm and P.K. Subban
​Yannick Weber and Matt Irwin

Goaltender

Pekka Rinne

Injuries and illness: Colin Wilson (lower body)

Blackhawks remember Dave Bolland for more than just '17 Seconds'

Blackhawks remember Dave Bolland for more than just '17 Seconds'

The Blackhawks are honoring one of their own on Friday, with Dave Bolland set to skate “One More Shift” with the organization. He will join the team on the ice during the anthem, and will be featured throughout the game commemorating his time in Chicago.

When you think of Bolland, the first thing that pops up into the minds of fans is his game-winning goal in Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins. Or, better known as the second goal of "17 Seconds."

But his former teammates remember him for more than that.

"He was awesome," Patrick Kane said. "He was one of those guys who played a third-line role for like his whole time here and just really did well with it. I remember the line with him, [Martin] Havlat and [Andrew] Ladd really took off in 2009 and obviously [Dustin] Byfuglien, him and [Kris] Versteeg were a good line in 2010. But just the way he played, he got underneath the other team's skin, especially their star players. Wasn't afraid to chirp, wasn't afraid to get into the mix, especially with his size and the way he was built.

"But yeah, some great moments, some big goals, a lot of big shorthanded goals, you can obviously remember his 17 seconds was unbelievable as well, that's a goal I'm sure he'll never forget. We'll never forget that celebration too, so it's awesome he's getting honored."

Bolland, who earned the nickname "The Rat," is perhaps best known for the role he played in the Blackhawks' playoff series battles with the Vancouver Canucks. His line frequently drew the defensive matchups against Daniel and Henrik Sedin, and he's the one player who really knew how to throw both twins off their game at the same time.

"I think he's kind of like Shawzy," Jonathan Toews said. "He's one of those guys that fans here in Chicago really like. Aside from scoring goals and the plays that he made over the years in the playoffs, he was one of those guys that you loved having on your team that other teams hated. He found ways to chip away at their best players and get them off their game. He was good at a lot of little things like that, so he was a big part of those winning teams."

Andrew Shaw was teammates with Bolland for only two seasons, but they won a Stanley Cup together and Bolland was one of the best and knowing his role and perfecting it.

"One of the best at his job," Shaw said. "He played that shutdown centerman. I always thought he had the shortest shifts. His shift lengths were so short just 'cause he would play so much against top guys that he'd want to be so well-rested while he was out there. ... He was skilled enough to chip in offensively as well.

"That's the type of player he was. He'd play against the top guys, he'd shut them down, he'd be that little rat himself, just try to get them off their game as well as outworking them."

Bolland spent seven of his 10 NHL seasons in Chicago, where he registered 168 points (70 goals, 98 assists) in 332 games. He was drafted by the Blackhawks in the second round (No. 32 overall) of the 2004 NHL Draft.

Friday will mark the first night honoring the 10-year anniversary of the 2010 Stanley Cup Championship, which ended a 49-year drought in franchise history. The first 10,000 fans on Friday will receive a Marian Hossa bobblehead.

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.

Robin Lehner to start in goal for Blackhawks vs. Blue Jackets

robin_lehner_usa_today.jpg
USA Today

Robin Lehner to start in goal for Blackhawks vs. Blue Jackets

Robin Lehner will start in goal for the Blackhawks when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night, coach Jeremy Colliton confirmed after morning skate. It will be his second start of the season.

In his season debut against the Winnipeg Jets, Lehner stopped 30 of 33 shots for a save percentage of .909 in a 3-2 overtime loss. He gave up a 5-on-5 goal, power-play goal and overtime goal at 3-on-3. Overall, he was solid.

"Everyone wants to play all the time," Colliton said of the dynamic between Corey Crawford and Lehner. "Whether it's a goalie, forward or D, they play better when they play more. That's just the standard answer. But we've had a little bit of a lighter schedule. We're trying to make ... we want both guys going because we're coming up on a stretch where we're playing a lot of games, so we're going to need them both."

Lehner is 5-3-0 with a 1.97 goals-against average, .945 save percentage and one shutout in eight career appearances against the Blue Jackets. 

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