The Nashville Predators took a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Chicago Blackhawks last night in what was a great Game 3. This is the 1st time in Predators history that they have led a playoff series 3-0. Chicago jumped out early in the 2nd period to a 2-0 lead and the Predators managed to erase it and get it to overtime, where Kevin Fiala would end it about 17 minutes into the extra session.
The crowd was electric in this one and both teams seemed to respond right off the hop in the 1st period. The Predators really responded, especially late in the period as they controlled the play all over the ice leading to an 18-9 shot advantage after the opening frame. However, neither team could solve the other goalie. Corey Crawford was on his game in this one and Pekka Rinne made possibly the save of the year.
Check it out:
Just 1:05 into the 2nd period, the Blackhawks did two things they had yet to do in this series. They got someone open in front of the net and they scored, as Dennis Rasmussen slammed home a nice pass from Marcus Kruger to put the Hawks up 1-0. Then a mental mistake by the Preds, a too many men on the ice penalty, allowed Patrick Kane to get on the board, thanks to a great screen in front of Rinne and the Preds were down 2-0. As the 2nd period moved on Nashville began to do the things they did so well in Games 1 and 2. Beating the Hawks to the loose puck, winning all the one on one battles, denying the Hawks easy entry into the zone and not allowing them to get to the hard areas. There was a feeling that they were starting to put it back together.
The Preds were coming early and often to start the 3rd and 4:24 in Filip Forsberg pushed in a rebound that came back off the glass behind the goal to put Nashville on the board. Then we had our 1st post season tv timeout ovation from the crowd. The Predators drew from this energy and just kept coming at the Hawks for the next 10 minutes. Finally, it paid off, Forsberg put in his second with 5:52 to go in the game. The Preds kept coming, but could not end it in regulation. Off to overtime number one.
As far as overtime goes, I have two words…Kevin Fiala. Three golden chances to end this game right in the slot. The first one he fired over the net. The second chance, Crawford robbed him of the game winner with a great kick save. However, with just 3:16 left in the extra session, Fiala, pushed passed the defenseman at the side of the and went around Crawford to deposit the puck in the net for the game-winner. The lid came off the building!
Nashville has pushed Chicago to the brink of elimination. They will not go down easy, but this Predator team seems ready to take this series.
Game 4 is Thursday, April 20th at 7 pm CT in Nashville.
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