Shea Weber had just tucked a slap shot under the crossbar to completely erase a four-goal deficit. A raucous, sold-out Bridgestone Arena had a playoff feel to it. And then in the blink of an eye, 1:09 later, Chicago’s Brent Seabrook took the air out of the building.
“That really took the wind out of our sails, obviously,” Weber said of Seabrook’s goal after the 5-4 loss. “We got ourselves back into the game after a huge deficit, and that’s obviously what killed us.”
With the game tied in the third period the Predators had completely turned the game around after falling behind 4-0 midway through the second. It didn’t take long for Chicago to halt Nashville’s momentum.
Seabrook took advantage of a felled David Legwand along the boards and skated towards the net uncovered. Andrew Shaw threw a backhand pass backdoor where Seabrook did the rest, giving the Blackhawks a 5-4 lead with 11:41 remaining in regulation. It was the final goal of a roller-coaster game.
“I fell down on the wall there; he got in front of me and I was on the back side of him,” said Legwand as he described the winning goal. “Shaw made a good play through the legs and obviously Peks isn’t going to make that save.”
For anyone who has followed the Predators this season, their comeback from the four-goal deficit should not have been surprising. They came back routinely in the first half of the season, and tonight’s latest comeback attempt had a similar feeling to those early in the year.
After surrendering three goals early in the second to fall behind by four, the Predators bounced back right away. Fifty-four seconds after Chicago’s Viktor Stalberg scored, Martin Erat capitalized on the power play to bring the score to 4-1. Less than a minuter later, Weber notched his first goal of the game to make it a two-goal game.
The Predators carried that momentum into the third and dramatically tied the game courtesy of Alexander Radulov’s beautiful goal and Weber’s rocket from the point, coming 2:32 apart.
“I thought we showed great character coming back,” head coach Barry Trotz said. “When you’re looking at the scoreboard and you’re down four pucks – we [hadn’t] played that poorly and we’re down 4-0, and you start battling back and get it to 4-4 you want to make sure you’re getting points.”
Lack of discipline in the first period cost the Predators, as they took three penalties that resulted in two Blackhawks goals. After falling down by four goals the Predators fought hard just to tie the game. Sometimes when that happens – especially in the Predators’ case, playing on the second night in a row – teams can run out of gas just by tying it up. Radulov didn’t think that was the case.
“We almost got the tying goal [with] a couple chances there, a couple good shots, but somebody has to lose the game,” he said.
Legwand tallied two assists to bring his career point total to 500 – the first player to reach that mark solely in a Predators uniform. Unfortunately, it didn’t come in the team’s 501st win. Legwand downplayed the milestone after the game, but Trotz praised his importance to the team.
“He’s been a player that has been here almost as long I have,” Trotz said. “He’s been a point producer for us and a big part of our success over the years. I’m really happy for David.”
After missing an opportunity to extend their lead as the fourth seed in the West, the Predators (45-26-8) will return to action Tuesday night at home against the Minnesota Wild.