Welp. That one hurts. Not much more to say about it. That’s just…tough.
Just before the puck dropped there was a surprise on the roster as Kevin Fiala was listed while Taylor Beck was not as he sat as the healthy scratch. Fiala, the Predators’ first-round pick this past summer, had one NHL game under his belt headed into the night. Fiala played on a wing with James Neal opposite him and Calle Jarnkrok in the middle of the two.
The opening period of play was set to be a battle and it did not disappoint as the two teams went to war from the opening face off. Both Chicago and Nashville managed to get some quality scoring chances through the first half of the period. The Predators were awarded the first power play of the night with 9:31 left in the period after Bryan Bickell was called for a hook. Nashville made the man advantage chance count as Ryan Ellis received a pass along the blue line from Seth Jones after Jones kept the puck in the zone impressively. Ellis zipped a slap shot on net that was tipped home by Colin Wilson.
Just 27 seconds after Wilson’s fourth goal of the post season the Blackhawks answered with a goal of their own. Antoine Vermette floated a puck past Pekka Rinne who initially made a save during the play but couldn’t manage to stop Vermette’s shot.
The first period ended at 1-1 with the Predators out shooting the ‘Hawks 13-11.
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The war type atmosphere we saw in the opening frame carried over into the middle period with both teams trading scoring chances back and forth.
Just under the 11-minute mark of the period Vermette was called for a cross-check on Neal but Neal was also called for an embellishment making the following two minutes of play 4-on-4 hockey. Neither team managed to find the back of the net with the extra space on the ice.
The Predators regained the lead however with 2:58 left in the period courtesy of Neal scoring his first of the post season. Neal just barely pushed the bouncing puck into the far side of the net in what was one of the flukier goals a Predator has scored all season long.
Nashville lead 2-1 after two periods of play out shooting the Blackhawks 27-18.
The Predators received their second power play of the night less than four minutes into period after Niklas Hjalmarsson was called for a slashing minor. They didn’t manage to put a shot on net in the 17-seconds of power play time they had before Filip Forsberg was called for hooking to force 4-on-4.
Just after Forsberg exited the penalty box Gabriel Bourque was whistled for an interference minor penalty after throwing/dropping his stick toward Patrick Kane as he carried the puck. The Predators managed to kill off the penalty, but just over two minutes following Chicago knotted things up at two.
The Blackhawks completely controlled play for the majority of the final period. Chicago had a prime scoring chance with the final seconds in regulation counting down as Hossa and Duncan Keith had a 2-on-1 chance. Hossa sent the one-timer on net as Pekka Rinne came up with the save of the night to push the game into overtime.
The Blackhawks managed to out shoot the Predators 12-5 in the final frame.
The first overtime saw neither team find the back of the net and neither team went to the man advantage either. The Preds out shot the ‘Hawks 13-10 in the opening overtime period before heading into their second overtime for the second time in this series.
Early on in the second overtime the Blackhawks received a power play chance after Matt Cullen was called for tripping 1:16 into the period. Chicago managed to put two quality shots on net but Rinne and the Predators killed off the penalty.
Rinne made more than a handful of quality saves in both the first overtime period and the second along with Chicago’s netminder Scott Darling.
With less than five minutes left in the second extra period Forsberg was called for a delay of game penalty. The penalty was then off set when Andrew Shaw slashed Ellis’ stick. No one tallied on the 40+ seconds of 4-on-4 hockey nor did Nashville with their shortened power play chance.
The game headed to triple overtime with Nashville out shooting Chicago 52-46 on the night.
The longest game in Nashville Predators franchise history ended up being a loss, and perhaps the backbreaker in this series as the Predators now trail 3-1. They’ll play game five in Nashville Thursday night at 8:30 CST.