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)

2020 NHL Draft: Winner of No. 1 pick revealed at Phase 2 of NHL Draft Lottery

2020 NHL Draft: Winner of No. 1 pick revealed at Phase 2 of NHL Draft Lottery

After the No. 1 pick went to a placeholder team — that would be eliminated in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers in the NHL's 24-team postseason under the Return to Play program — in Phase 1 of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery in June, the top pick for the 2020 NHL Draft was awarded to an actual team in Phase 2 of the lottery on Monday. 

The New York Rangers won the No. 1 overall pick for the 2020 NHL Draft on Monday during Phase 2 of the lottery.

The Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets were also in the running and all had a 12.5% chance of winning the No. 1 overall pick along with the Rangers in Phase 2 of the Draft Lottery.

The No. 1 pick of this year's draft is expected to be forward Alexis Lafrenière, who registered 35 goals and 77 assists for a league-leading 112 points in 52 games this season with the Rimouski Océanic of the QMJHL, where he also served as the team captain. 

No team has held the No. 1 pick finishing better than 26th in the standings since the 1995 NHL Draft, and no team made the top pick after playing in a postseason series since the Minnesota North Stars in the 1983 NHL Draft.

The 2020 NHL Draft is scheduled for Oct. 9 and 10. It was originally scheduled for June 26-27 in Montreal but postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which paused the NHL on March 12.

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest Blackhawks news and analysis.

How to watch Blackhawks vs. Golden Knights Stanley Cup Playoffs: Time, TV schedule and streaming info

How to watch Blackhawks vs. Golden Knights Stanley Cup Playoffs: Time, TV schedule and streaming info

There's nothing like playoff hockey. 

After defeating the Edmonton Oilers in the qualifying round, the Blackhawks are back in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since the 2016-17 season. 

In the first round, the Hawks will go up against the top-seeded Vegas Golden Knights. 

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest Blackhawks news and analysis.

We have all the details on how to watch and stream the games. 

Game 1
When:
Tuesday, Aug. 11
Where: Rogers Place
Puck drop: 9:30 p.m. CT
TV Channel: NBC Sports Chicago
Live Stream: MyTeams App (stream)

Game 2
When:
 Thursday, Aug. 13
Where: Rogers Place
Puck drop: 4:30 p.m. CT
TV Channel: NBC Sports Chicago
Live Stream: MyTeams App (stream)

Game 3
When:
 Saturday, Aug. 15
Where: Rogers Place
Puck drop: 7 p.m. CT
TV Channel: NBC 
Note: NBC Sports Chicago will have Blackhawks Pregame at 6:30 p.m. CT before puck drop, and Blackhawks Postgame Live immediately following the game. 

Download the Blackhawks schedule and coverage details to your device.

Game 4
When:
 Sunday, Aug. 16
Where: Rogers Place
Puck drop: 5:30 p.m.
TV Channel: NBC Sports Chicago
Live Stream: MyTeams App (stream)

*if necessary*
Game 5
When:
 Tuesday, Aug. 18
Where: Rogers Place
Puck drop: TBD
TV Channel: NBC Sports Chicago
Live Stream: MyTeams App (stream)

*if necessary*
Game 6
When:
 Thursday, Aug. 20
Where: Rogers Place
Puck drop: TBD
TV Channel: NBC Sports Chicago
Live Stream: MyTeams App (stream)

*if necessary*
Game 7
When:
 Saturday, Aug. 22
Where: Rogers Place
Puck drop: TBD
TV Channel: NBC Sports Chicago
Live Stream: MyTeams App (stream)

Throughout the entire series, Blackhawks Pregame Live will air 30 minutes before puck drop on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming on the MyTeams app. Blackhawks Postgame Live will air immediately after each game. 

SUBSCRIBE TO THE HAWKS TALK PODCAST FOR FREE.