In the wee hours of the night, the Chicago Blackhawks took a 3-1 series lead by beating the Nashville Predators 3-2 in triple OT.
If that outcome feels familiar for a Blackhawks team that has won many of these battles, it will only seem that much more like deja vu when you consider the fact that Brent Seabrook scored the overtime-clincher.
It was a great showcase between $7 million goalie Pekka Rinne and out-of-nowhere backup Scott Darling. Those performances really make a great argument for the wild unpredictability of the postseason: goalies matter, yet you don’t always know who will make the difference.
Seabrook ended up making the ultimate difference with the winning goal, joining the likes of Petr Nedved and Keith Primeau as players who have scored huge tallies when everyone has dead legs.
At this point, it’s all about waiting for different folk tale-like stories about weight loss and intermission pizza to trickle in.
Rinne really stood on his head at times, with this save maybe being the best highlight of the game beyond the clincher:
Ultimately, that last shot beat him, which is what most people will remember as the specifics fade.
Classic game or not, the two teams must face the reality of the aftermath. Despite pushing Chicago to double-OT in Game 1 and triple-OT in Game 4, Nashville now heads home down 3-1 in this series. As courageous as this Predators team has been with Mike Fisher and especially Shea Weber out of the lineup, most are counting them out after this loss.
The Predators have pushed the Blackhawks a lot more than the 3-1 series deficit may indicate, but it will take a lot of heart to push through this crushing loss.
Chicago, meanwhile, can get a much-needed breather if they wrap this one up in five games. If the previous four contests are any indication, it won’t be easy, though.