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posted: 4/26/2010 12:01 AM

Hawks aim to end series Monday night

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  • Chicago's Marian Hossa is overcome by his teammates after he scored the game-winning overtime goal against the Nashville Predators Saturday at the United Center in Game 5 of the first-round Stanley Cup playoff series.

      Chicago's Marian Hossa is overcome by his teammates after he scored the game-winning overtime goal against the Nashville Predators Saturday at the United Center in Game 5 of the first-round Stanley Cup playoff series.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 

If the Nashville Predators are down following their collapse late in Game 5 on Saturday, the Blackhawks want to make sure they keep them there.

Even though the Hawks have the cushion of a potential Game 7 back home at the United Center on Wednesday, their intention is to end this grinding first-round playoff series with Nashville tonight at Bridgestone Arena.

The Hawks lead the best-of-seven series 3-2 thanks to Saturday's drama when Patrick Kane scored short-handed with 13.6 seconds to play, tying Game 5 - then Marian Hossa won it 5-4 with a goal early in overtime.

"If you're there, you've got to close the door," Hawks center John Madden said. "You've got to go after it and put them away. You don't want to give anybody a second chance because it will come back and bite you.

"We have to go in there and win this game, not look at it like we have Game 7 back in our building. This is a game we've got to take."

How will the Predators respond after coming within seconds of going up 3-2 in the series? The Hawks don't expect to see a team feeling sorry for itself.

"I think they're going to come out flying," Madden said. "They're in their building fighting for their lives. It's an elimination game and they're going to be at their best. We have to be at our best to even compete with them."

Predators coach Barry Trotz said his team has let go of the stunning events at the end of Game 5, although there were some tough moments after the crushing loss.

"I don't think you wanted to be on the bus. I don't think you wanted to be in the dressing room. I don't think you wanted to be on the plane (Saturday) night," Trotz said. "But you have to let it go. I don't want this team to be emotionally impaired, plain and simple. If you're emotionally impaired, we're at a disadvantage. We're at enough disadvantage being down three games to two.

"We need all the advantage we can get. So being emotionally impaired is something we have to get rid of. This group responds real good as pros all the time."

The Hawks showed last spring in the playoffs they know how to handle elimination games. They were 2-for-2 when they got the chance to knock out Calgary and then Vancouver in six games.

"It's good to know we had two opportunities last year and we got it done," Hawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. "I think the toughest game to win is always the last one to close a series out. You just have to be real focused."

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville wants to see his team ride the emotional wave from Saturday right into Game 6.

"Finding a way to win was a key thing that happened that maybe we can use that as motivation to feel comfortable and confident in all zones," Quenneville said. "It was one of those games that people will always remember and hopefully we can feed off that."

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