Patrick Kane scores with six seconds left in first period on seeing-eye slapshot

PatrickKane

Blackhawks star Patrick Kane was questionable before the first-round series between Nashville and Chicago after having missed seven weeks with a broken clavicle. Surprisingly, Kane was in the lineup when the series began and his impact has been huge.

Through five games, Kane had found the score sheet in all but Game 3. Coming into a pivotal Game 6, after Chicago has scratched back from a 3-1 deficit to make it 3-2 late in the first period, the Blackhawks were set up in the Predators’ zone with next to no time remaining in the first frame. Brad Richards won the faceoff back to Duncan Keith, who touched it along to Kane. Without hesitation, Kane leaned into a slapshot that wasted no time finding the back of the net: Read more

Preds avoid elimination with win over Hawks in Game 5 – but viper’s den now awaits them in Chicago

Nashville's Filip Forsberg celebrates his goal with teammate James Neal behind Hawks goalie Scott Darling in Game 5 of Chicago's first-round series against Nashville Thursday. (John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

After an exhausting triple-overtime loss to Chicago Tuesday, the Nashville Predators were down 3-1 in their first-round series against a Hawks squad comprised of big-game players. Sure, they’d be playing before a supportive home crowd Thursday, but even the best fans on the planet aren’t going to beat Jonathan Toews & Co. The Preds needed a statement game of their own, and that’s what they got in a dominant 5-2 victory that included a hat trick from star rookie Filip Forsberg and a one-goal, two-point performance from winger James Neal.

Athough it wasn’t easy, that part will be a park’s walk compared to what lies ahead next: Game 6 Saturday night in Chicago, where rabid fans at the United Center will be pains in their ear, and Hawks players very likely will be pains in their rear. The Predators were unable to beat the Hawks in Chicago in both regular-season attempts and in Games 3 and 4, and one of the deepest Hawks teams in modern history is known for bending and not breaking.

A win is a win, but make no mistake: the pressure is all on Nashville now. They’ve got an appointment in the viper’s pit, and there’s enough snakes populating it to give their season a quick and painful demise. Read more

After 16 seasons, defenseman Hal Gill officially announces retirement

Hal Gill (Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

After 16 seasons in the NHL and stints with the Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators and Philadelphia Flyers, defenseman Hal Gill has officially announced his retirement from the NHL.

Gill was drafted in the eighth round of the 1993 draft by the Bruins, and went on to play 1,108 regular season games, scoring 36 goals and 184 points. Gill also suited up for an additional 111 post-season games, tallying six helpers. His best playoff year came in 2008-09, when he picked up two assists and played nearly 19:30 per game en route to a Stanley Cup victory with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Read more

Hawks star Patrick Kane goes behind his back for astonishing spin-o-rama assist. Yes, you read that right.

Predators Ryan Ellis and Mike Santorelli fight for the puck with Blackhawks star Patrick Kane during Game 5 of Chicago's first-round series against Nashville Thursday. (Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

The Chicago Blackhawks fell 5-2 to the Nashville Predators in Game 5 of their first-round series Thursday night, but if there’s any solace to be taken for the Hawks, it’s that star winger Patrick Kane is looking like himself again – as evidenced by an astonishing spin-o-rama-style, backhanded assist on Kris Versteeg’s goal late in the third period.

The Hawks were trailing the host Preds 4-1 with five minutes left in the third period when Kane took the puck deep in Nashville’s zone, only to stop, spin and fire a backhanded pass to Versteeg, who slapped it past Predators goalie Pekka Rinne for his first goal of the 2015 post-season and Kane’s fourth assist: Read more

Preds, Hawks go to triple-overtime in Game 4 – and once again, Chicago has just enough to win & take series stranglehold

Hawks stars Patrick Kane, Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith celebrate after Seabrook scored in triple-overtime to win Game 4 of Chicago's first-round series against the Nashville Predators. (Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

After falling behind 2 games to 1 in their first round series with the Blackhawks and facing the prospect of having to win three games in a row to stave off elimination, the Nashville Predators had to be treating Game 4 Tuesday as a must-win scenario. Playing for the second straight game without star defenseman and captain Shea Weber, the Preds displayed the urgency the moment demanded and had a 2-1 lead midway through the third period. The Hawks were their typically resilient selves and tied it on Brandon Saad’s second of the post-season with 8:57 left in regulation – and that’s when the Great Overtime Caper of 2015 began.

By the end of it – on the 100th shot of the game at at exactly one minute of the third OT period – the Hawks were victorious again (this time, via a 3-2 final score) thanks to Brent Seabrook’s game-winner, and the Preds were on the brink of another first-round exit: Read more

Recent healthy scratch Antoine Vermette scores first playoff goal for Hawks in Game 4

Blackhawks center Antoine Vermette and Predators forward Paul Gaustad battle next to Preds goalie Pekka Rinne in Game 4 of Nashville's first-round series against Chicago. (Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

Veteran center Antoine Vermette sat in the press box as a healthy scratch in the first two games of Chicago’s first-round series against Nashville, but in Game 4 Tuesday, he made a case for remaining in the lineup by scoring his first playoff goal for the Blackhawks.

Playing before a typically raucous home crowd, Chicago had just fallen behind 1-0 to the Preds a little more than midway through the first period when Vermette moved to the middle of the ice a few feet from Preds goalie Pekka Rinne and was able to redirect a pass from Michal Rozsival into the visitors’ net: Read more

Shea Weber-less Predators won’t last long in series against Hawks if injured captain can’t return soon

Predators captain Shea Weber, before Game Two of Nashville's first-round series against Chicago. (John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

With Shea Weber in the lineup for their first two first-round games against Chicago, the Nashville Predators have shown they can compete against and beat the mighty Hawks. But without their injured captain during a 4-2 Game 3 loss Sunday at the United Center, the Preds looked very much like a team without its most important player. And those type of teams don’t normally win playoff series.

The Blackhawks needed overtime to claw out a 4-3 win in Game 1, and had their assets handed to them in a 6-2 loss to Nashville Friday. But they lost Weber to a lower-body injury (read: a knee or ankle injury) midway through the second period of Game 2, and if you needed any proof as to the 29-year-old’s value (or the reason why some of us voted for him as our first choice for the Norris Trophy), it was right there for you to gawk at in Game 3. If he’s not back in the lineup soon – and he’s not expected back for Game 4 Tuesday – it’s very likely his teammates will be joining him on the sidelines for the summer. Read more