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.”


Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman: "We expect Corey to be back"

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman: "We expect Corey to be back"

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman said that the team expects goalie Corey Crawford to be back next season around training camp. Bowman also mentioned that Crawford might speak about his status himself during the Blackhawks Convention.

“What I said at the end of the year was still the case now, which is we expect Corey to be back,” Bowman said in a Thursday afternoon conference call. “We don’t have any reason to think that’s not going to happen.”

According to Bowman, Blackhawks players, including Crawford, already have their eyes set on next season.

“At this point in the summer, all the players are preparing for next season,” Bowman said. “Corey’s in that same preparation mode.”

Crawford is nursing what has been labeled an upper-body injury by the team. The two-time Stanley Cup winner was put on the shelf for the rest of the season back in late December, and he has not seen the ice since he skated in a February practice.

“Nothing has changed,” Bowman said. “We expect him to be back and ready to go in training camp.”

The Blackhawks have chosen to keep any groundbreaking news with Crawford under wraps, which the organization has done with other player injuries in the past. Bowman spoke about his vagueness in this situation.

“We’ve never gone into specifics about injuries,” Bowman said. “I realize this probably gets more attention because he’s our starting goalie and he won the Stanley Cup.”

Fans will have to take a wait-and-see approach, because it is unlikely that there will be a significant update regarding Crawford’s health before the season gets closer to its start.

Last season, Crawford only appeared in 28 games, posting a record of 16-9 with 782 saves before going down for the rest of the year.

Blackhawks emergency goaltender Scott Foster made his return at the NHL Awards to present the Vezina Trophy, and it was perfect

Blackhawks emergency goaltender Scott Foster made his return at the NHL Awards to present the Vezina Trophy, and it was perfect

After staying out of the public eye since his historic emergency relief appearance, Scott Foster emerged in Vegas at the NHL Awards and it was perfect. 

The 36-year-old accountant fittingly presented the Vezina Trophy award for the league's top goaltender and joked that he needed to speed it up because he had to get back to work.

Check him out on stage:

What a moment. And well done, NHL. 

Foster stopped all seven shots he faced in 14:01 of action in the Blackhawks' 6-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on March 30.

Nashville Predators netminder Pekke Rinne took home the award, but you can't argue against Foster's 1.000 career save percentage.