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Nashville Predators 3, Chicago Blackhawks 2: Revenge Is So, So Sweet

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James Neal and Pekka Rinne carry Nashville to a thrilling victory against Chicago.

Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

What an exciting game this was. Fast, crisp hockey at its finest. Both teams had great chances and pressure the entire game. It was pretty much a coin toss until the end. That was until James Neal decided to put this team on his back and carry them to a win.

Ben Smith kicked off the scoring in the first for Chicago after a bevy of pressure by the Predators in Chicago's own zone. The lead disappeared after Neal scored a hat trick: once late in the first period, once late in the second, and then again in the third. Pekka Rinne looked phenomenal, making some crucial saves in the final period. Andrew Shaw scored to bring it within one goal late in the third, but in the end, it wasn't enough.

Random Observations

  • I find it funny that before the 2010 season, the arena for games against Chicago would be 80-20 in favor of Preds' fans. After the Blackhawks won the cup, we, all of a sudden, see an influx of Chicago fans. I think their bandwagon may have broken with the amount of people that jumped on it. Talk about coming out of the woodwork.
  • Good start to this one by Nashville. There is no way that they could get away with coming out of the gates flat against Chicago. They are too talented of a team to not take advantage of slow play. Then again, we don't have to tell the Nashville players to be ready for Chicago. This game just shows you that the games against the Blackhawks aren't just any other games. The fans and players want nothing more than to beat Chicago. I mean just look at how the Predators have played in the first period.
  • That goal by Ben Smith just shows you how quickly things can turn in a game. All the momentum was with Nashville, and the Blackhawks' fourth line just outworked them on that shift for the goal. Also, it makes me cringe when I see all that red in our stands. Something needs to be done about this. I say we light up any red with gold paint balls. Who's with me!?
  • Just imagine if the power play was working for Nashville. This team would be scary good if they could find a way to get the puck into the net with the man advantage. Maybe it's time to switch up the lines a bit.
  • That sequence going from the Chicago power play to the Neal goal was amazing. Great defense and goal tending got the crowd going. Then we were treated with a rocket shot by Neal off of a turnover to take the lead. Feed James Neal more. Give him the hat trick!
  • Right on cue! James Neal with the hat trick! The Preds are continuing their dominating play in the third period. Now it's looking like the first line is clicking on all fronts. The rest of the league better take notice, because this team isn't going to be a push over this year.
  • It almost feels like Neal and Patric Hornqvist are playing a game of, anything you can do, I can do better. Granted, Hornqvist has been playing with the best player in the world. Neal is showing people that he is just too talented to not score goals.
  • I must say, Pekka Rinne looks to be back in Vezina form. Huge saves to keep the Preds lead at two goals in the third. Now if only the power play can get going, this team would be clicking on all fronts, and that is scary to think about.
  • It almost looks like the Preds revert back to the Trotz days when they have the lead. They are just sitting back on defense and trying to hold on. They need to keep being aggressive and continue to push offensively. They might be able to get away with that against most teams, but not against Chicago.

OTF's Super Duper Stars of the Game

  • Heel James Neal. He was just getting things done tonight. Neal was a one man wrecking crew, making the most of his opportunities.
  • Pekka Rinne. This guy was a beast tonight. Yea he gave up two goals, but he made timely saves that kept the Preds ahead.
  • #PrinceFilip. As if his hair and dashing looks weren't enough to put him on this list, he went ahead and notched two more assists in the game. I think it's safe to say that he will be on the first line for a while now

Tweets of the Night

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