Brent Seabrook was asked on Monday afternoon about some of the biggest goals of his career. Not surprisingly, his Game 7 winner against the Detroit Red Wings two years ago was up there.
He added another one to the list early Wednesday morning.
Scott Darling stopped 50 shots and Seabrook scored the game winner one minute into triple overtime as the Blackhawks beat the Nashville Predators, 3-2, at United Center. The Blackhawks took a 3-1 lead in their first-round series, which continues at 8:30 p.m. Thursday in Nashville.
For Seabrook, this was his third career postseason game-winning goal. Perhaps it was because he and his teammates were tired or maybe it was because it gave the Blackhawks a big lead in this series, but this one may have usurped the Detroit one.
“That might’ve been the biggest,” he said. “It was a long game, it’s a late night. It’s nice to be done with that one. They’ve done a great job all series long of getting in our lanes; I think I had four or five shots tonight hitting sticks and bouncing off knee pads and skates and whatnot. [Patrick Kane] made a great play coming up the boards and laid it in there for me and I just tried to get it on net as hard as I could.”
It was the third triple-overtime game the Blackhawks have played in the last three postseasons. This one featured more great play, more close-call shots and, of course, a lot of careful play as the minutes elapsed. Sixty seconds into that third overtime, with Bryan Bickell parked in front of Pekka Rinne, Seabrook fired.
“He’s had some big ones,” coach Joel Quenneville said of Seabrook’s winner. “Great play around. Bick nice play to Kaner, Kaner put it on a tee, Bick gets back to the net and I think that’s probably how everyone scripted it: shot, traffic, it goes in. Great shot, great traffic, great pass.”
Antoine Vermette scored his first postseason goal with the Blackhawks in the first period. Brandon Saad, off a drop pass from Marian Hossa, tied the game at 2-2 with about nine minutes remaining in regulation.
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As with most lengthy overtime playoff games, the goaltenders had their incredible stops. Darling stopped 50 of 52 shots. Rinne, who denied Hossa on a point-blank shot at the end of regulation, stopped 45 of 48. For Darling, it was one more memorable night in a postseason that’s quickly accumulating several of them.
“Overtime’s crazy: every shot is do or die. Guys kept the chances outside in overtime and made it easy on me,” Darling said. “I’m thrilled we won. It was a real war, great hockey game, a classic. I’m a little tired but excited to get to bed.”
We’ve all watched these overtime games before. It usually comes down to a tip, or a shot with traffic. One way or another, someone comes through with a big shot at a critical time. It wasn’t a complete surprise that it was Seabrook.
“We were hoping for a hero,” Saad said. “Seabrook’s done it before. It was a big shot.”