Predators use quick burst to subdue Blackhawks, even series

Nashville, TN ( – Filip Forsberg, Craig Smith and Mike
Santorelli scored in a span of 2:19 late in the third period to blow open a
close game, and Nashville claimed a 6-2 victory over Chicago in Game 2 of this
Western Conference quarterfinal series.

Smith led the way with two goals and one assist for the Predators, who locked
things down after wasting an early 3-0 lead in Wednesday’s series-opening,
4-3, double-overtime setback.

Colin Wilson and Roman Josi also lit the lamp, Mike Ribeiro picked up two
helpers and Pekka Rinne halted 24 pucks.

Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane scored once each for the Blackhawks, who can
regain momentum back at United Center in Game 3 on Sunday afternoon.

Corey Crawford was shelled for the second straight outing, but finished this
one having surrendered all six goals on 35 shots.

A potential dagger for the hosts by Calle Jarnkrok was waved off after replay
showed Santorelli made contact with Crawford before the puck entered the net
less than two minutes into the third.

Nashville eventually took a two-goal lead at 12:41 when Forsberg went to the
net and followed up a miss that Crawford mishandled and Keith failed to

It was 5-2 only 1:47 later as Smith burst up the middle sprung by a Forsberg
pass and scored on an off-balance shot that trickled through the crook of
Crawford’s left arm.

Santorelli then atoned for his earlier mistake, adding another shot from in
tight to extend the Preds’ edge to four just 32 seconds hence.

Wilson struck for his third score of the series, giving the Preds a lead on a
shot under the crossbar from a sharp angle on the right wing to cap the game’s
first power play 2:47 after the initial drop of the puck.

Sharp tied the game on a delayed penalty call with 3:47 remaining in the first
period, spinning around in the slot after receiving a Niklas Hjalmarsson lead
pass and beating Rinne under the crossbar.

As the clock ticked down inside a minute left, Crawford made three quick stops
on Josi, including two when the Preds defenseman batted the puck out of the
air at the right post.

Josi gained his revenge, managing to sneak a rising shot home from the right
wing with 3.6 ticks showing.

Sharp remained possessed in the middle frame, ripping a long shot off the
crossbar near the midway point, then helping set up Kane’s game-tying shot
from the left wing at 10:32.

Smith put one upstairs on his second-chance effort off a Cody Franson point
drive and the hosts took a 3-2 lead with 5:06 to play in the second.

Game Notes

Predators forward Mike Fisher was scratched with a lower-body injury sustained
in Game 1 and is officially listed as day-to-day … Nashville defenseman Shea
Weber left the game in the second period and did not return with a lower-body
injury … Sharp’s goal was his 40th career playoff marker, and 39th for
Chicago … Crawford, who backstopped the Blackhawks to the 2013 Cup
championship, has given up nine goals on 47 shots over four periods thus far.