Sports writers love to talk about teams or players being “haunted” by a mistake. Sometimes it’s a single gaffe that tarnishes a great player’s legacy (see: Buckner, Bill). Other times it could be a questionable call by a referee or an epic brain fart. Still, few five-minute powerplays will ever leave its beneficiaries as cold as the one the Predators received at the end of the third period. Nashville allowed a stunning game-tying shorthanded goal, two golden John Madden shorthanded opportunities in overtime and Marian Hossa scored the winner right after stepping out of the box.
Rarely will “haunted” talk be more appropriate than in the case of the Nashville Predators.
Chicago Blackhawks 5, Nashville Predators 4 OT
Blackhawks lead series 3-2
Chicago dominated much of this game. David Legwand gave Nashville a 1-0 lead but the Blackhawks reeled off three goals. Things seemed to change when a Patrick Kane turnover lead to a Joel Ward shorthanded goal in the second period.
The third period looked disastrous for Chicago as Martin Erat managed two goals to give the Predators a 4-3 lead.
Yet it seemed like a game of highs and lows – of retribution and bubbles bursting. At first, Kane looked like a goat when his turnover lead to a pivotal shorty, but his game-tying goal made up for that. Erat seemed like a hero with two goals, but his turnover allowed Kane to score that goal. Jason Arnott might be feeling less mixed emotions, as his poor coverage in front of Pekka Rinne allowed the game tying goal to happen.
No one received more dramatic retribution than Marian Hossa, though. In what seemed like a huge mistake that (still) could generate some suspension talk this weekend, Hossa shoved Dan Hamhuis into the boards and received a 5-minute boarding penalty in the last minute of the third that should have paralyzed Chicago’s comeback chances. Yet Kane scored that enormous goal, the Blackhawks shut down the epic 5-minute major and Hossa put in the overtime game-winning rebound shortly after leaving the box.
These are the kind of games that championship teams look back on (and conversely, what depressed teams rue as their beards turn gray). Will Nashville be able to bounce back from such a heartbreaking finish?
It’s said that variety is the spice of life, yet it seems to be the spite of the Minnesota Wild.
As head coach Mike Yeo said, this struggling team appears to find a new way to lose virtually every night. That couldn’t have happened once again on Saturday, when they fell 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues, could it?
If you ask Jarret Stoll, the latest problem was the penalty kill.
Honestly, Stoll may have been too specific, likely trying to throw his own unit under the bus. Instead, it might be more accurate to say that Minnesota’s special teams let them down.
Indeed, the Wild struggled to limit the Blues’ power play, which went an unsettling 3-for-6. That said, Minnesota had a chance to trade blows with St. Louis. Instead, the Wild managed one power-play goal on seven opportunities.
The silver lining is that the Wild believe that they showed more fight than this fragile bunch had been generating before.
On the other hand, with Jonas Brodin on IR and Jared Spurgeon apparently hurt, that silver lining may not be so easy to see.
Worry (if you’re pulling for the Stars) or gloat (if you’re a Blackhawks fan) all you want, but the bottom line is that the Central Division’s No.1 spot is clearly in Chicago’s control after Saturday night.
The Blackhawks earned a decisive 5-1 win against the Dallas Stars, giving them a five-point standings lead over Dallas for the Central Division lead.
You may feel like that’s more of the same, but consider this: things would look a lot closer if Dallas won or gained points, as they hold three games in hand on the ‘Hawks.
At least one Blackhawks player admits this game means a little more than your average W.
Indeed, while Antti Niemi was pulled from the game and Kari Lehtonen faced his own struggles in Dallas’ net, Corey Crawford ranked as one of the big reasons why the score was so lopsided.
(Artem Anisimov had a big say in that, too.)
As a wise coach with 1,000+ games of experience would do, Joel Quenneville didn’t go overboard in assessing the victory.
Was this a statement game? Who knows, but a certain statement is that the Blackhawks now have a five-point standings lead.
Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.
Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.
Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:
That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.
Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.
For quite some time, it looked like the Florida Panthers would keep the Pittsburgh Penguins under wraps.
Florida nursed a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 margin almost halfway through the third period, looking to win its sixth consecutive game. That looked great … and then Sidney Crosby + Kris Letang happened.
Let’s put it this way: this GIF of Crosby being frustrated is amusing, yet it doesn’t exactly tell the story of Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win for the Penguins:
Instead, Crosby grabbed his 900th point assisting on a Letang goal, and finished the night with 902 by collecting the game-tying goal and grabbing a helper on Letang’s overtime game-winner.
Crosby crossing that barrier is indeed special, even if it prompts “What if?” questions about No. 87’s health.
The resurgence of Crosby and Letang already played a big role in the Penguins going from disjointed and frustrating to sneaky and scary, so it shouldn’t be that surprising to see them play so well. Doing so in such brisk order is a little bewildering, however.