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Nashville Predators 6, Chicago Blackhawks 2: 3rd Period Surge Evens the Series

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The Predators responded to a less than stellar Game 1 by blowing the Blackhawks out of the water in Game 2.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Nashville Predators entered the night trailing their series against the Chicago Blackhawks 1-0, and hoped to even the series before departing to the Windy City for Sunday afternoon's game.

They did exactly that, playing a close game for more than 45 minutes before blowing the gates wide open.

Colin Wilson continued his torrid pace through the playoffs by kicking off the scoring with a power play goal early in the first. Patrick Sharp tied it up on a gorgeous spin-o-rama goal, before Roman "Best Contract in the NHL" Josi used his #slick hands to give the Preds a 2-1 lead with three seconds left in the 3rd period.

In the 2nd, Patrick Kane scored the tying goal when it shouldn't have counted (more on that later) but Craig Smith got revenge by pulling his team ahead. Then the craziness started...

Filip Forsberg, Craig Smith and Mike Santorelli all scored against Corey Crawford within about three minutes in the third period. Bridgestone Arena was going crazy, and the Predators looked like a formidable team that could very well give the Blackhawks problems. Predators even the series with a 6-2 win.

There's still plenty of series yet to go, but it looks like it could be a long one. It's now a best of three as the series shifts to Chicago.

Highlights of the Night

Random Observations

  • Remember when we were all talking about how much Wilson disappeared? Also how he needed to show up for the playoffs if the Preds had any chance of putting up a fight? Well, I think it’s safe to say that he got the message. CW33 has three goals in two games, and has been one of the biggest forces against Corey Crawford so far. Let that be a lesson to all of you… get a haircut.

  • The line of Patrick Sharp, Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw has been one of the best for Chicago so far this series. That continued tonight, when a strong forecheck (and a defensive miscue) led to a beautiful 360º goal from Sharp. He was right in the middle of the slot, and Rinne had no chance on stopping that goal.
  • Roman Josi is a freaking monster. Nashville fans get spoiled from seeing him every game, but this could very well be his coming out party. After breaking into the zone and almost scoring with some amazing hand-eye coordination, then scored on an amazing individual effort at the very end of the 1st period.
  • Four minute into the second period, Paul Gausted got whistled for a 4-minute double-minor. Already without Mike Fisher, Nashville had to kill a penalty without their other best PKing forwards. It had all the signs of turning sour for the Preds. Until they killed off both minors with incredible efficiency. Chicago only mustered 1 shot on goal, though they got close to scoring when a Sharp shot from the point ricocheted off Rinne and hit the crossbar. Either way, pucks stayed out of the net, and it was a HUUUUUUGE kill.
  • When you leave Patrick Kane alone on one side of the ice, he's going to make you pay. That's exactly what happened when the Hawks tied the game at 2. Of course, it's also easy to score goals when you have 6 guys on the ice when you're only supposed to have 5.
  • Cody Franson and Seth Jones are the pairing that scares us the most. They had a good first period, and a mediocre (at best) second period.
  • Want to freak out about something? I thought you would. The Predators are already shorthanded with Fisher on the injured list for the time being. He's one of their best depth players and better special team producers. Well, now they may be without Shea Weber. At 10:48 of the 2nd period. Weber and Brandon Saad met in the corners, and Weber appeared to sustain an injury. He skated gingerly to the bench and immediately down the tunnel before the Preds announced he would not return to the game. That is seriously not good.
  • But hey, on the bright side, Craig Smith scored his first-ever playoff goal to put the Preds up 3-2. The Preds kept thing pretty even throughout the game, but seemed lucky to get out of the 2nd with the lead.
  • Ready for the craziness?
  • Filip #%@^$# Scoresberg. The Prince of Smashville notched his first NHL playoff goal by crashing the net, and slamming home a puck that Crawford should have covered.
  • Smith tallied his second of the game by blowing past the Chicago defenders and beating Crawford with a sick shot.
  • Santorelli dented twine from a beautiful feed from Calle Jarnkrok that somehow went past Crawford. It made up for a player earlier in the period when Santo cross-checked Crow and sat on top of him, negating a sure CJ19 goal. Hey, the ends justify the means, I guess.
  • All of that happened in less than 3 minutes. (2:19 to be exact.) How Bridgestone had a roof on it after all of that is unknown.
  • The Blackhawks tried to stir shit up at the end of the game, because if you're losing by four goals why not try to act like jackasses? Andrew Shaw got the boot, and Versteeg was doing more Versteeging. *shrugs*

This game was kind of amazing. Already suffering the loss of Mike Fisher, the Predators lose their captain and best defenseman in Weber halfway through the game. They still manage to keep the game close before annihilating the ever-loving piss out of the Blackhawks. That doesn't make up for the fact that Weber could be missing some time, but now the series is knotted 1-1, and Chicago has some serious questions about their goaltenders. We knew this could be a very long series, and splitting the first two games is in no way the worst thing that could happen.

Enjoy this win. Not only has it been seven games since the Predators have had one, but it's been over two years since it's been one of this magnitude. Just be prepared to get back to business tomorrow.

On to Chicago.

OTF's Super Duper Stars of the Game

  • Filip freaking Forsberg
  • Craig freaking Smith
  • Roman freaking Josi

Tweets of the Night

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/OnTheForecheck">@OnTheForecheck</a> <a href="http://t.co/kYlfMs94VF">pic.twitter.com/kYlfMs94VF</a></p>&mdash; Keith Wilson (@kwil_5) <a href="https://twitter.com/kwil_5/status/589282523085168640">April 18, 2015</a></blockquote>

<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p>WHAT IS THIS. <a href="http://t.co/OJFID3NTQs">pic.twitter.com/OJFID3NTQs</a></p>&mdash; Adam Gretz (@AGretz) <a href="https://twitter.com/AGretz/status/589284719365378048">April 18, 2015</a></blockquote>

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