The Nashville Predators would need a win on Tuesday night, against the Blackhawks, to stay alive for this playoff run. After recording the longest game in Preds playoff history, the Nashville Predators lost in the 3rd OT by a score of 3-2.
Colin Wilson started the scoring off in the 1st period when he tipped in a Ryan Ellis shot to give Nashville the 1-0 lead at 11:38. Chicago would respond at 13:05 when Antoine Vermette tied up the game.
The Predators played a much better 2nd period, not allowing any goals, and getting James Neal‘s 1st goal of the playoffs at 17:02. Nashville would have the lead after the 2nd period 2-1.
The 3rd period allowed for the Blackhawks to tie the game at 11:03 when Brandon Saad scored the equalizer.
The OTs of this game were spectacular with high-level plays, a wardrobe issue with Pekka Rinne, and other intriguing events. Nashville was, once again, not able to solve Scott Darling. At the 1:00 mark of the 3rd OT, Pekka Rinne was finally beaten by Brent Seabrook to give Chicago a 3-1 series advantage going into game 5.
Tonight, Bridgestone Arena will welcome back the Boys in Gold to a packed house.
Keys to Watch
One game at a time…
Reading through many timelines, comments, and other various social media outlets, it seems as though many observers have written off the Preds. The Preds can’t win the series tonight, that is a given. If they are going to come back in this series, they have to take this game play-by-play, shift-by-shift, line-by-line, and period-by-period. The mantra of this squad, and fan-base, should be “Win The Period.” If you can’t win the period, it will be difficult to win the game. Keep the faith, Preds fans! If Nashville wins tonight, it will be one step closer towards winning the series.
Mind Games or Out for the Series?
Is Coach Peter Laviolette trying to play mind games with Taylor Beck or will Kevin Fiala take his spot for the remainder of the series? In game 4, Fiala started over Beck in a last minute lineup change. In his 1st action of the playoffs, Fiala had 11:05 TOI, -1 rating, 2 shots on net, and 1 hit. It is an interesting dynamic to see if Coach Laviolette is trying to get the best of Beck and pump him up OR has he lost faith in Beck and moved on to Fiala. Only time will tell, so we will wait when lineups are announced to get the answer. Another play in this will be if Mike Fisher returns to the lineup tonight or if he sits out another game due to injury.
Switch it up!
The best defensive lineup pairings for the Preds has been when Shea Weber is in the lineup. Roman Josi is a defenseman who likes to activate into the offense and Weber traditionally stays back for defensive help and the CANNON shot. With Weber injured, Seth Jones has filled the role on the 1st line. Jones is also a defenseman that likes to activate into the offense. Recently, this has left some gaps in defense and given the Blackhawks some opportunities to get advantages on breakaways. It would be best to either place a defenseman with Josi that is a more “stay-at-home” player like Cody Franson or Jones can’t activate into the offense as frequently as he likes to do. Now, we all know that this entire situation can be handled if Weber returns to the lineup. We shall see what happens closer to puck drop!
Nashville will look to stay alive in the series and push the Blackhawks to a game 6. For those that cannot make it out to Bridgestone Arena tonight, FOX Sports Tennessee will be covering the game or you can listen live on 102.5 The Game. Remember that tonight’s game 5 will be the late game with an 8:30 CT start!