Forsberg's hat trick helps Predators avoid elimination against Blackhawks
Have your Calder Trophy, fellas.
Filip Forsberg answered his detractors after being left off the rookie of the year ballot, scoring the first hat trick in franchise playoff history as the Nashville Predators staved off elimination with a 5-2 triumph over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 5.
The spurned rookie didn't do it alone, though. Colin Wilson matched Vladimir Tarasenko for the postseason lead in goals with a gorgeous fifth, and Pekka Rinne anchored the back end admirably, making 28 saves.
The series will now shift back to Chicago, where the Blackhawks can close it out on home ice.
Star Performer: It wasn't his day, but boy oh boy was it Forsberg's night. And Kris Versteeg made sure he was rewarded for it.
Turning Point: Overtime hasn't gone particularly well for the Predators in this series. But before the thought of an extra frame (or three) could even creep into their minds with the game tied entering the third, Nashville's hired gun, James Neal, swooped around the net and wrapped the go-ahead goal inside the post 47 seconds in.
Goalie Comparison: Scott Darling was very ... Corey Crawford. The netminder didn't lose the game for Chicago, but allowed four goals on 28 shots and was soundly outplayed by his counterpart.
Top Highlight: As much as this game was about Forsberg - and a Predators' top line that combined for four goals, eight shots and nine hits - Patrick Kane provided the moment of brilliance.
Stat of the Night: A Predators' dozen. For Chicago, the game was lost with Wilson's first and Forsberg's second coming 12 seconds apart early in the third.
Series at a glance
Game 1: Blackhawks 4, Predators 3 (2OT)
Game 2: Predators 6, Blackhawks 2
Game 3: Blackhawks 4, Predators 2
Game 4: Blackhawks 3, Predators 2 (3OT)
Game 5: Predators 5, Blackhawks 2
Game 6: Saturday, April 25, 8:00 p.m. ET
Game 7*: Monday, April 27, TBA