Predators ready to bring 'spirited game' against Blackhawks


Predators ready to bring 'spirited game' against Blackhawks

After Game 3 of their opening-round playoff series against the Blackhawks, the Nashville Predators were still feeling pretty good about their performance despite their 4-2 loss.

Sure, there were some things they would have liked to do better, and the Predators have since addressed those areas heading into Game 4 inside the United Center.

[RELATED - Blackhawks: Shaw, Ribeiro ready to move on after Game 3 punch]

"We weren't skating as well as we had in the previous two games," Colin Wilson said. "I think they did a good job with their back pressure and it's something we usually use as our identity is back pressure. I don't think we were skating the way that we could have."

Now the Predators find themselves down by one in the series heading into Game 4. And while they said they address every playoff game as a must-win, they're not looking to change too many things against the Blackhawks on Thursday night.

"I think we've taken every game with the same approach," Wilson said. "You don't want to go two behind to a team in a series, but I think we've played every game like a must-win and if we keep playing the same way, we can [go far]."

Head coach Peter Laviolette has been happy with what he's seem overall from his team, and isn't worried about a lack of effort or energy as the playoffs continue.

"I don't think they were holding anything back in Games 1, 2 and 3. Playoffs are playoffs, each games are their own individual identity. Our guys, they seem to give an honest effort and they played hard. We didn't get results, and it's about results in the playoffs."

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Now the Predators will aim to achieve those results tonight. For Nashville, it's about fixing some little areas — and adjusting in the absence of Shea Weber and Mike Fisher — but keeping their style of game the same.

"I don't think it was a lack of effort, or energy or wanting to do well," Laviolette said. "I believe that they'll bring a spirited game to the rink tonight. I believe their heads and energy will be in the right place and we'll take on the Blackhawks. But there's a lot of confidence in our room that if we play a certain way and certain style and execute, we can find success for sure."

Coach Joel Quenneville addresses the media during his first night back in Chicago

USA Today

Coach Joel Quenneville addresses the media during his first night back in Chicago

Coach Joel Quenneville has quite a legacy in Chicago. During his 10 years as Blackhawks coach, he won three Stanley Cups after a near 50 year drought. After being fired on November 6, 2018 following a five game losing streak, Coach Q is now the head coach of the Florida Panthers (27-16-5), who are third in the Atlantic Division. NBC Sports Chicago's Blackhawks Insider Charlie Roumeliotis got the chance to sit down with Coach Q for an exclusive interview upon his return to Chicago to face his former team. 

Watch Coach Q address the media ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks matchup against the Florida Panthers at the United Center. 

Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith separated at Blackhawks morning skate

Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith separated at Blackhawks morning skate

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews and alternate captain Duncan Keith had to be separated during Tuesday's morning skate after the two appeared to get into a confrontation.

The two three-time Stanley Cup champs wrestled to the ice, with Toews pinning Keith down. Assistant coach Sheldon Brookbank broke the pair up.

“Just a little friendly wrestling," Toews said of the bout. "Were ready to go. It’s a big game tonight. I think the whole point of morning skate is to get going and we’re ready now.”

Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton also made light of the situation following the skate. 

"You got a brother?" Colliton asked Chicago Tribune reporter Jimmy Greenfield, who asked about the altercation. "I do too and I got two boys at home, so I've seen that movie before."

Things have been looking up for Chicago, which is three points out of a WIld Card spot and riding a five-game winning streak with one game left before the All-Star break. 

"I don't know," Patrick Kane said with a laugh regarding the kerfuffle. "I think they were just messing around, I'm not really sure what happened there." 

The Hawks welcome coach Joel Quenneville back to the United Center for the first time since he was fired on Nov. 6 of 2018 Tuesday night. Quenneville now coaches the Florida Panthers, third in the Atlantic Division.

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