Scott Darling will get the start in net once again as the Chicago Blackhawks meet the Nashville Predators for Game 5 on Thursday night at the Bridgestone Arena. Coach Joel Quenneville indicated that his lineup is unlikely to differ from the one that played Tuesday night in a 101-minute marathon that saw the Blackhawks win 3-2 in triple OT to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.
The Hawks know what it will take to close out the series in Nashville tonight. Since the 2008-09 season the Blackhawks are 11-3 when they are in a position to clinch a series. Two of those three losses came in overtime games last season in the Western Conference Final.
Lines from Tuesday night:
The defensive pairings will likely remain the same, too.
Likely scratches: Cumiskey, Rundblad, Paliotta, Nordstrom, Teravainen and Raanta.
Opponent Breakdown: Nashville Predators
Predators coach Peter Laviolette said despite a tough loss in the Predators' longest game ever on Tuesday night that his team "would not go away quietly" as it faces elimination. He indicated that it is down to one shift, one period and one game at time in order to move on.
Colin Wilson has proved invaluable to the Predators during this series and leads the league with four goals. Craig Smith, who leads all players in the playoffs with 24 SOG, has been similarly effective. The Blackhawks will need to find a way to neutralize these players on Thursday night.
Nashville has outhit the Blackhawks in three of four games during the series and out-blocked and out-shot the Hawks in all four games, but will need to find a way to solve Darling if it expects to extend the series. History is not on the team's side: Nashville is 0-6 all-time when facing elimination at home.
Here are the Preds' probable lines:
Neither Wilson nor Shea Weber were on the ice for morning skate. Mike Fisher and Eric Nystrom participated.
Nashville: Mike Fisher (lower-body, day-to-day), Shea Weber (lower-body, day-to-day) and Eric Nystrom (lower-body, day-to-day)
When: 8:30 p.m. CT
Where: Bridgestone Arena
TV: NBCSN, CSN-C