Most of the Blackhawks know what it’s like to hoist the Stanley Cup and they want that feeling again. The journey to try to achieve that begins for them Thursday night when they open up a first round series against the Predators.
The Blackhawks were all business Tuesday during practice at Johnny’s Ice House. Their playoff game faces, it seems, are already on.
“I think we’re ready. I think you can sense the team is ready to get this started,” says forward Patrick Kane.
The Blackhawks and Predators met in the playoffs in 2010 and 2015. The Blackhawks won both times and they went on to win the Stanley Cup both years, but all Joel Quenneville recalls is how tough the Predators battled the Hawks.
“We were fortunate both times we played them,” says Quenneville. “They gave us all we could handle in both series and we don’t expect anything different this time.”
Quenneville says this Predators’ playoff team is more talented than the previous two were.
“Deeper than they’ve ever been against us. Up front I think they’ve got four lines that can score and attack with speed. They’ve got a backend that’s extremely mobile. They’ve got a proven goalie, so it’s a very dangerous team.”
“By no means are we looking past a great team like Nashville right now,” says Kane. “They’re a feisty team. Always tough to play in their building.”
The Blackhawks know that they’re good enough to win the championship. They also know that in the Stanley Cup playoffs anything can happen as they learned last year when they were knocked out in the first round by the Blues.
In that series Jonathan Toews struggled. He was held without a goal.
“Last year not being able to score in that round it’s one of those things you feel like if you had one or two (goals) it could have been the difference in a game or two,” says Toews. “But again going into this series you can’t be thinking about that and putting too much pressure on myself.”
The Blackhawks beat the Predators in four of their five regular season games.