What transpired at 4:47 PM central had Pred Nation stunned and in disbelief. That’s when Patrick Kane scored with 13.6 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 4 – shorthanded nonetheless. 22 minutes later, Preds fans were heartbroken and wanting answers.
There’s a lot of controversy as to whether Marian Hossa should have been able to even score his winning goal in overtime. His five-minute boarding major late in regulation went without the tag of ‘game misconduct’, something you usually see on that type of penalty. The hit was similar to Alex Ovechkin’s on Brian Campbell last month (not the same, but similar).
Whether or not Hossa should have been out there (or suspended), though, doesn’t change the result. Chicago pulled off a miracle, and Nashville blew a golden opportunity to potentially end the series at home in two days.
The Blackhawks dominated through two periods (led 24-8 in shots), but only led by one after Joel Ward’s shorthanded tally late in the period. The Preds started the third like gangbusters, taking a 4-3 lead with under 10 minutes left via Martin Erat’s pair of goals. Then the nightmare occurred.
I’m not going to sit here and blame Ward for not covering Kane on the game-tying goal… because it shouldn’t have even gotten to that point. The Predators got too conservative while on the power play, and it backfired terribly. They should have really tried to throw the knockout punch to make it 5-3 and/or kept the puck behind Chicago’s net.
They didn’t, and now our sights shift to Game 6 in Nashville.
Combining Game 4’s domination by Chicago with today’s happenings, the Preds will be hard-pressed to win on Monday – let alone the series. Barry Trotz’s club has been resilient all year, but what Nashville went through today is something that teams usually don’t bounce back from.
Nashville’s power play is a big reason why they aren’t leading this series. They are 0-for-22 in the series, and have failed to score on the man advantage when needed; like in overtime earlier today… or on a crucial 5-on-3 in Game 4. The ‘power-less play’ of Nashville’s has let them down all series, but it’s not necessarily a surprise to Preds fans.
The ‘Hawks have seized all of the momentum in this series, and are 60 minutes away from taking this hard-fought series. The stars are finally stepping up, answering all of those critics who panicked after the Game 3 loss.
This series is not over, as the fourth win in a series is always the hardest to claim. But the Preds have a tall task in shaking off this nightmarish finish to win on Monday. I guess it’s a perfect opportunity for Trotz’s crew to prove the doubters wrong once again.
Our podcast 'RLD Hockey Talk' is LIVE every Wednesday afternoon at 1:00 ET/Noon CT. Some of our notable guests in past episodes have been Dustin Brown, Doc Emrick, John Buccigross, Dave Strader, E.J. Hradek, Elliotte Friedman and Jay Grossman.