When you have Patrick Kane – even in a possibly hampered form – deficits aren’t quite as scary.
The Chicago Blackhawks faced down a 3-1 gap when the Nashville Predators chased Scott Darling, but they enter the first intermission tied 3-3. The bigger-picture answer to “How?” is that it’s been a wild, wide-open game … but sometimes there’s only so much use in explaining things when you have Kane on your team.
A player with a recently injured shoulder/clavicle shouldn’t be able to shoot a laser like this one. Actually, few forwards could unleash a shot like this, period:
The Chicago Blackhawks have another chance to close out their first round series with the Nashville Predators tonight at the United Center.
Head coach Joel Quenneville shuffled his lines slightly at the team’s morning skate.
Kris Versteeg will move up to the Hawks’ second line alongside Brad Richards and Patrick Kane. Bryan Bickell moves down to play with Antoine Vermette and Patrick Sharp.
“They’re both useful options with that [second] line,” said Quenneville.
Versteeg has a goal in the first five games of the series while Bickell has two assists and eight penalty minutes in the five games.
The Nashville Predators’ backs are against the ropes, but they’re still swinging. After spending the better part of the contest tied, Nashville broke out early in the third period to earn a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.
On the same day that he was officially left off the list of Calder Trophy finalists, 20-year-old forward Filip Forsberg led the charge for the Predators with a hat trick. He scored their first goal at 14:42 of the first period to swiftly end Chicago’s early one-goal edge. He chipped in again in the third period to round out Nashville’s remarkable run of three goals in under three minutes:
Patrick Kane and Kris Versteeg combined for a beautiful goal with just over five minutes remaining in the contest, but at that point it wasn’t enough to change the course of this game. Chicago went into tonight with an opportunity to eliminate the Predators and they couldn’t get the job done.
With the net empty, Forsberg was able to collect his final marker of the contest with 11 seconds to spare.
Blackhawks goaltender Scott Darling had a commanding .969 save percentage in his first three playoff contests, but the 26-year-old rookie netminder had a rough game tonight, stopping just 24 of 28 shots. Meanwhile Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews were each limited to a pair of shots on goal.
The silver lining for the Blackhawks is that they have another chance to advance in Game 6 on Saturday and this time the Blackhawks will be playing at home.
The Nashville Predators likely weren’t happy about some calls from their Game 1 loss against the Chicago Blackhawks, but Game 2 might just make head coach Peter Laviolette explode.
Patrick Kane scoring his first goal since breaking his collarbone is a great story … yet it becomes sour when it’s so clear that it (almost certainly?) should have been whistled dead with too many men on the ice:
Want another look at it? Here’s more proof and more Laviolette anger:
Yeah, the Predators probably have a beef:
With Shea Weber out hurt for the rest of this game, the Predators aren’t exactly getting a lot of luck tonight. They do, however, currently hold a 3-2 lead.
A quick look at what games will be on what channels in tonight’s Stanley Cup playoff action…
Senators at Canadiens, 7 p.m. ET on CNBC
Montreal earned a 4-3 victory in Game 1, but the big story was P.K. Subban’s slash on Mark Stone. The Senators wanted to see Subban suspended over that one, but it looks like that won’t happen. Now tempers are running high going into Game 2. As previously noted, the Senators need to control their emotions though before this series gets away from them.
Islanders at Capitals, 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN
The Islanders secured a 4-1 victory over Washington in Game 1 with Josh Bailey, Ryan Strome, and Brock Nelson leading the charge. If John Tavares gets hot in Game 2, then New York might find itself in a commanding position by the end of the night, although we might end up seeing Alex Ovechkin respond instead. Meanwhile goaltender Jaroslav Halak now has a 2.23 GAA and .941 save percentage in seven career playoff games against Washington.
Blackhawks at Predators, 9:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN
It took 87:49 minutes to settle Game 1, but in the end Chicago completed its comeback from a 3-0 deficit. Along the way Patrick Kane recorded two power-play assists in his return from a broken clavicle. Chicago struggled to convert on its power-play chances after the All-Star break, but the return on Kane might have ended that issue, which is yet another thing Nashville has to worry about.
Flames at Canucks, 10:00 p.m. ET on CNBC
Down 1-0 going into the second intermission, the Flames rallied in the final frame and Kris Russell scored the winner with just 30 seconds remaining in Game 1 on Wednesday. The Flames were one of the best teams in the league when it came to battling back from a deficit in the third period over the course of the regular season, but they obviously don’t want to make a habit of it in the playoffs. The Flames might not be so fortunate this time around if they fall behind again.