CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw is prepared to play back-to-back games against the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference finals this weekend, but that doesn’t mean he prefers it that way.
“Both of us are coming off Game 7s, so a day in between would be nice,” Shaw said Saturday morning at the United Center. “The shortened season and everything that's happened this season, they just want to get it done with, just fly through the playoffs there.”
The Blackhawks and Kings square off in Game 1 at 4 p.m. on Saturday and will take the ice again for Game 2 at 7 p.m. on Sunday. It’s the first time either team has played back-to-back games in the playoffs this season.
The Blackhawks were 20-2-2 in back-to-back games during the regular season, and the Kings were 10-4-2.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said he was treating Game 1 by itself and would only alter that plan if Saturday’s game dictates it.
“Knowing, hey, we’re concentrating solely on [Saturday’s] game,” Quenneville said. “But I think when you go into these games, when you play the first of two, you want to make sure you’re using everybody and you want to get all four lines into the game early. As the game plays out, sometimes you may change courses. I think you plan on using everybody. Four lines’ success has been in play all year, so we plan to go that route.”
For the players, they said the key was resting and recovering over the next two days.
“I think try to do whatever you can to try and recover,” Blackhawks defenseman Nick Leddy said. “Whether it’s jumping in the hot tub or cold tub, whatever your routine is, and doing that and trying to feel as best as you can.”
Blackhawks forward Dave Bolland said, “When you’re going back-to-back now, it’s a grind. Now, it’s just rest. Anytime you can get off the ice and not be on the ice and be ready for the game is probably the biggest thing. Just being rested and being ready is the motto really.”