Predators 'will not go away quietly' after Game 4 loss


Predators 'will not go away quietly' after Game 4 loss

The visiting locker room inside the United Center was dead silent early Wednesday morning. 

After 101 minutes of play in Game 4 against the Blackhawks, the Nashville Predators sat at their stalls at the end of their longest game in team history, only to pack up after a disappointing loss that left them down 3-1 in their opening-round playoff series.

"We were in it. It was a fun game," Craig Smith said. "We played hard. Just sucks."

[MORE: Blackhawks win triple-OT thriller over Predators in Game 4]

The players were exhausted by the time Brent Seabrook's game-winning goal went in to end Tuesday's triple-overtime contest. And like the previous three games in the series, the Predators felt they were right in it with the Blackhawks, only to miss out on a look that Chicago managed to capitalize on.

"I thought we did all the right things," Smith continued. "We had a lot of emotion on our bench, we were fired up. These types of games there are going to be funny bounces so that's why you shoot. We had some really good looks, we had the chance to put the puck in the net but just couldn't quite get it."

The Predators took the lead in the first period off a goal from Colin Wilson, but it took Antoine Vermette just over a minute to score his first goal with the Blackhawks to tie things up. 

The Predators then managed to use second period to their advantage after being outscored 18-4 during that frame in their last 10 contests. James Neal found the back of the net, closing out a strong 40 minutes for Nashville before the Blackhawks outplayed them in the third.

"I think we played two really good periods," Roman Josi said. "In the third we sat back a little bit and they came at us. But even in OT we had our chances. They had their chances too, but just didn't go our way.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

"We have to play the same way as we did for two periods today. I thought we were the better team the first two periods. We were up 2-1. We just have to come out with a lot of energy, these games are so tight. Little mistakes are going to burn you so we have to limit those."

After such an emotionally-charged game, the Predators couldn't help but feel tremendous disappointment. But they're confident that a return to Nashville could be just the boost they need to get the series back to Chicago.

A 3-1 deficit is a tough pill to swallow, but the Predators have no doubt that they'll be ready to bring their best performance for their most important game of the season on Thursday.

"Eventually the sun will come up tomorrow," head coach Peter Laviolette said. "Our guys are resilient. They will not cave. And they will not go away quietly. So they'll be ready to play Game 5, I promise you."

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.

NHL Draft Profile: D Noah Dobson

NHL Draft Profile: D Noah Dobson

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Noah Dobson

Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 180 pounds
Shoots: Right

Scouting report:

"A very effective two-way defenseman with good puck distribution and a strong shot from the points on the power play. He is a point-producer with size, who defends and utilizes strong positioning and a good stick in the defensive zone."

NHL player comparable: Brent Burns

Fit for Blackhawks:

The Blackhawks lacked defensemen that generated offense last year. They also lacked defenders than can ... defend. Dobson is a player who can do both, and if he slips past Vancouver at No. 7, the Blackhawks may have a difficult decision on their hands.

Dobson could solve some of those defensive issues, but it likely wouldn't be in time for the 2018-19 season. He needs time to develop properly.

The Blackhawks like to evaluate prospects based on what their ceiling is and where they're at in their development curve, and if they see major upside here, they'll go for it. It just depends if there's somebody available that they like better.