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Predators look to even series after game 1 collapse


Yes, you read that headline correct, the Nashville Predators lost game one to the Chicago Blackhawks after having a 3-0 lead after the first period. The first period was a disaster for Chicago, especially for goaltender Corey Crawford. Colin Wilson put the first tally on the board after he beat Crawford on a shot high stick side. Crawford looked seemingly lost giving up bad rebounds and misplaying pucks behind the net. One of those misplayed pucks behind the net led to the second goal for Nashville with Crawford still standing behind the net. Chicago looked like the team that hasn’t been in the playoffs for 2 years, not the Predators. Just 2 minutes later Colin Wilson scored his second goal of the night on the power play giving the Predators the 3-0 lead. The Blackhawks offense looked shaky throughout the entire period turning the puck over and settling for bad shots. Going into the locker room after a period like that many teams would mail it in and turn their focus to game 2, but not this Blackhawks team.

Scott Darling stopped 42 shots after relieving Corey Crawford to start the second period. (Photo: Mark Humphrey / AP)
Scott Darling stopped 42 shots after relieving Corey Crawford to start the second period. (Photo: Mark Humphrey / AP)

When the teams took the ice to start the second period there was something that was noticeably different. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville decided to pull Corey Crawford and turn to backup goaltender Scott Darling. His decision to make the change was the turning point in this game and could ultimately be one of the reasons Chicago wins the series. The change inspired the Blackhawks team, as they seemed to skate in the second half with a purpose. They continued to grind; taking good shots and playing great defense and finally got on the board when Teuvo Teravainen found a cutting Niklas Hjalmarsson with a fantastic pass from behind the net. Power play goals from both Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews knotted the game back up at three going into the third period.

Both the third period and the two overtime periods were played completely different than the first two periods. Where the first two periods were high in goals and low in defense, the last three periods were very physical. Both teams focused on defense and great goaltending to try and get the decisive fourth goal. Near the end of the third period and into overtime the pace of the game on offense reached a fever pitch as the two teams were trading odd man rushes. This pace of play seemed to favor the more talented Blackhawks as they continually had great opportunities to end the game. Both goaltenders did their parts stymying those rushes causing the game to reach a second overtime. The Blackhawks finally netted the final goal of the game when Duncan Keith ripped a slapshot from the blue line.

Scott Darling could not be described as anything other than fantastic between the pipes. The second period was fairly slow for Darling due to the fact that the Blackhawks were on the offensive side of the ice so much. The third and overtime periods were a different story as Darling made multiple fantastic saves. Darling’s performance was highlighted in the first overtime when he made back-to-back saves going from post to post making pad saves. Darling made 42 saves and did not let a goal past him as the Blackhawks held on to win game one. Corey Crawford will be back in net for game two as Nashville will have to try and rebound Friday night at Bridgestone Arena.