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?