Fiala's OT goal gives Preds 3-0 lead over Blackhawks
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[April 18, 2017]
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Chicago
Blackhawks finally cracked the code on Pekka Rinne and owned a
two-goal lead Monday night in the third period of Game 3 in their
Western Conference first-round playoff series.
But none of that mattered when the Nashville Predators chased them
down on two Filip Forsberg goals that forced overtime, then finished
the comeback courtesy of Kevin Fiala's redemption.
Denied on two golden chances earlier in the extra period, Fiala
converted his third point-blank opportunity at 16:44 to deliver a
3-2 win and a 3-0 series lead for Nashville early Tuesday.
Just eight minutes after midnight, Fiala took a sweet backhand pass
from James Neal, deked to his backhand side and slipped the puck
under Corey Crawford for his second goal in as many games as the
sellout crowd of 17,204 filled Bridgestone Arena with an
"He's a young kid in a man's league," Predators coach Peter
Laviolette said of the 20-year-old Fiala, who scored 11 goals in 54
regular-season games. "It's good for a young kid in a big situation
like that to score a really patient goal. He had lots of looks,
Fiala's snapper from the slot with 9:20 left in overtime tipped off
Crawford's glove and just over the crossbar. Just over three minutes
later, Fiala had half an open net at which to shoot, but his wrister
caromed off Crawford's left skate.
Fiala threw his head back in disbelief, but the third time was his
and Nashville's charm.
"It was great," he said. "It was very important to win the game and
go up 3-0. They are a great team."
After absorbing 1-0 and 5-0 losses in the first two games at the
United Center, Chicago appeared headed for a momentum-shifting
victory on road ice. Crawford made 17 saves, many of the world-class
variety, in the first period, and the Blackhawks gave him support
for the first time in the series during the second period.
Rinne's shutout streak of 141:05, the fourth longest at the start of
a series in NHL history, ended 65 seconds into the second when
Dennis Rasmussen beat him on a point-blank backhander off Marcus
Kruger's pass from behind the net.
Patrick Kane made it 2-0 at 11:15 of the opening period, wiring a
power-play wrister from the right faceoff circle past Rinne for his
50th career playoff goal and pumping his right fist Tiger Woods
But after taking four minor penalties in the second, Nashville
energized its audience just 4:24 into the third period as its top
line of Forsberg, Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson changed the
Forsberg stuffed the rebound of Arvidsson's shot into
the net at 4:24 for his first goal of the series, then pounced on
the rebound of Ryan Ellis' point blast and flicked it over
Crawford's right pad at 14:08 as the arena shook with joy.
[to top of second column]
Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) makes a save on a shot by
Nashville Predators left wing Kevin Fiala (56) during the second
period in game three of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup
Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher
Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
In three games, the line has combined for four goals and seven
"We're just being hard on pucks, getting pucks to the net and
converging on the net," Arvidsson said.
Although they appeared tired at times in overtime, the Predators
kept pouring pucks at Crawford, finishing the night with 94 shot
attempts. Crawford stopped 46 of the first 48 that got through to
net, but he couldn't turn away Fiala's game-winner.
"He was fine," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said of Crawford.
"They shot the puck at him from a lot of different angles. Our puck
management wasn't as good as it had to be, and we didn't generate
Rinne finished with 34 saves, his biggest coming on Nick Schmaltz's
breakaway early in the third period that kept the score at 2-0.
Forsberg and Fiala made sure that play didn't go for naught, setting
the stage for a potential close-out Game 4 on Thursday night.
"We have to come back with the same mindset," Ellis said. "They
played a great game, but we just have to keep attacking the game."
NOTES: Chicago shuffled line combinations again for Game 3, with LW
Nick Schmaltz going on the first line with C Jonathan Toews and RW
Marian Hossa. RW Richard Panik and LW Ryan Hartman were dropped to
the third and fourth lines, respectively. ... Nashville LW Colin
Wilson (lower-body injury) sat out his third consecutive game. ...
The Blackhawks scratched D Michal Kempny, LW Andrew Desjardins, LW
Tomas Jurco, G Jeff Glass, D Michal Rozsival, LW John Hayden, D
Gustav Forsling and Vinnie Hinostroza. ... Predators scratches were
D Anthony Bitetto, RW PA Parenteau, RW Miikka Salomaki, D Brad Hunt,
LW Cody McLeod and LW Vernon Fiddler.
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