Blackhawks win triple-OT thriller over Predators in Game 4


Blackhawks win triple-OT thriller over Predators in Game 4

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.

[MORE: WATCH: Vermette scores first goal as a member of Blackhawks]

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.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

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.”


Four takeaways: Blackhawks on wrong side of history in loss to Lightning


Four takeaways: Blackhawks on wrong side of history in loss to Lightning

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the United Center on Sunday:

1. Blackhawks on wrong side of history 

Earlier this year the Blackhawks made history by appearing in five straight overtime games to start the season, something no team in NBA, NFL, NHL or MLB history has ever done.

But Sunday they found themselves on the wrong side of it after allowing 33 shots on goal in the second period alone. It tied a franchise high for most given up in a single period — March 4, 1941 vs. Boston — and is the most an NHL team has allowed since 1997-98 when shots by period became an official stat.

"It's pretty rare to be seeing that much work in a period," said Cam Ward, who had a season-high 49 saves. "But oh man, I don't even know what to say to be honest. It's tough. We know that we need to be better especially in our home building, too. And play with some pride and passion. Unfortunately, it seemed like it was lacking at times tonight. The old cliche you lose as a team and overall as a team we weren't good enough tonight."

Said coach Joel Quenneville: "That was a tough, tough period in all aspects. I don’t think we touched the puck at all and that was the part that was disturbing, against a good hockey team."

2. Alexandre Fortin is on the board

After thinking he scored his first career NHL goal in Columbus only to realize his shot went off Marcus Kruger's shin-pad, Fortin made up for it one night later and knows there wasn't any question about this one.

The 21-year-old undrafted forward, playing in his his fifth career game, sprung loose for a breakaway early in the first period and received a terrific stretch pass by Jan Rutta from his own goal line to Fortin, who slid it underneath Louis Domingue for his first in the big leagues. It's his second straight game appearing on the scoresheet after recording an assist against the Blue Jackets on Saturday.

"It's fun," Fortin said. "I think it would be a little bit more fun to get your first goal [while getting] two points for your team, but I think we ... just have to [turn the page to the] next chapter and just play and be ready for next game."

3. Brandon Saad's most noticeable game?

There weren't many positives to take away from this game, but Saad was certainly one of them. He had arguably his best game of the season, recording seven shot attempts (three on goal) with two of them hitting the post (one while the Blackhawks were shorthanded).

He was on the ice for 11 shot attempts for and five against at 5-on-5, which was by far the best on his team.

"He started OK and got way better," Quenneville said of Saad. "Had the puck way more, took it to the net a couple of times, shorthanded."

4. Special teams still a work in progress

The Blackhawks entered Sunday with the 29th-ranked power play and 25th-ranked penalty kill, and are still working to get out from the bottom of the league in both departments. In an effort to change up their fortunes with the man advantage, the Blackhawks split up their two units for more balance.

They had four power-play opportunities against Tampa Bay and cashed in on one of them, but it didn't matter as it was too little, too late in the third period — although they did become the first team to score a power-play goal against the Lightning this season (29 chances).

"Whether we're looking for balance or we're just looking for one to get hot, I think our power play has been ordinary so far," Quenneville said before the game. "We need it to be more of a threat."

Four more minor penalties were committed by the Blackhawks, giving them eight in the past two games. That's one way they can shore up the penalty kill, by cutting back on taking them.

Blackhawks tie franchise record for shots on goal allowed in one period


Blackhawks tie franchise record for shots on goal allowed in one period

Well, things could be going better for the Blackhawks during Sunday's game against the Lightning.

In the second period Sunday, the Blackhawks surrendered 33 shots on goal, tying a franchise record for most in a single period. The previous instance occurred March 4, 1941 against the Boston Bruins, a game that the Blackhawks lost 3-2.

While the Blackhawks tied a franchise record for shots on goal allowed, they actually set an NHL record at the same time. The NHL did not begin recording shots on goal as an "official" statistic until the 1997-98 season.

Consequentially, Sunday's 33 shots on goal allowed in the second period is the "official" record, even though the Blackhawks accomplished the "feat" nearly 80 years ago. Confusing, huh? 

Unfortunately for the Blackhawks, they also surrendered three goals and scored zero in addition to the plethora of shots on goal allowed. They recorded just six shots on goal in the second period themselves, trailing 4-1 by the time the third period started.