Preds down Blackhawks to stay alive

Nashville, TN ( – Filip Forsberg posted a hat trick and
Nashville used a three-goal barrage early in the final period to stave off
elimination with a 5-2 victory over Chicago in Game 5 of the Western
Conference quarterfinals.

James Neal added a goal and an assist, Colin Wilson also lit the lamp and
Pekka Rinne made 28 saves for the Predators, who scored three times in
the first 3:14 of the third to stay alive.

“It’s always special with a hat trick, but the most important thing is that we
got this win,” Forsberg said. “Obviously, we had to win this game just to kind
of take the series back a little bit to our advantage.”

Brad Richards and Kris Versteeg scored for the Blackhawks, who had taken
Games 3 and 4 at home, including a triple-overtime victory in Game 4. Scott
Darling allowed four goals on 28 shots in the loss.

Game 6 will take place in Chicago on Saturday afternoon.

The score was tied entering the third period, but the Preds went on top just
47 seconds in as Neal grabbed the puck to the left of the net and skated
behind to the right side where he stuffed in a wraparound for a 2-1 lead.

Just over two minutes later while on the power play, Nashville made it a 3-1
game as Wilson’s turnaround shot from the low right circle got past Darling
for his fifth of the series.

It was a 4-1 game just 12 seconds after that goal when Neal brought the puck
in down the right side and passed it to Mike Fisher, who sent it over to the
left where Forsberg one-timed it home.

“They got three quick goals and those were the difference,” Blackhawks coach
Joel Quenneville said.

Chicago got one back with 5:08 to play after Patrick Kane skated down the
right wing and used a turnaround pass to get it over to the left where
Versteeg one-timed it home to make it a 4-2 game.

The Blackhawks, though, were unable to get any closer and Forsberg capped off
his first career hat trick, regular or postseason, with an empty-netter in the
final seconds.

“You go home, you get excited and you take care of business there,”
Quenneville said.

Chicago took a 1-0 lead at 13:27 of the first as Richards’ quick wrister on
the fly from the left circle snuck in.

Nashville, though, answered just 1:15 later after a right circle faceoff win
saw Forsberg quickly snap the puck home.

Neither side was able to score in the second, as Darling made 11 stops and
Rinne turned away seven.

Game Notes

Nashville finished the game 2-for-3 on the power play, while Chicago failed to
score in two chances … Kane has four assists in the series … This is just
the second postseason matchup between these teams. The Blackhawks won a 2010
quarterfinal series in six games.