Three OT’s later, Blackhawks beat Predators for 3-1 series lead

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CHICAGO - Fate seemed to be in the Blackhawks favor before the puck ever dropped for Game 4 of their first round series with the Predators.

In the Joel Quenneville era the Blackhawks have been solid in a seven-game playoff battle whenever they've had the lead after three games. Solid might not be the right word. How about perfect 7-0 since the 2009 NHL Playoffs in an era where the team has won a pair of Stanley Cups.

Good omen right? That didn't mean the Predators would just lay down for the Blackhawks even if Game 4 was on the ice of their opponents. These two division rivals engaged in an even 60 minutes of regulation hockey for a second time in the first round series forcing a sudden-death overtime to produce a winner.

In the end it produced the same result.

Brent Seabrook came up with a slap shot goal in the overtime session to give the Blackhawks a 3-2 victory over the Predators to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. It was the 100th shot of the game and in the 101st minute of hockey that stretched from Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

Game 5 will be played in Nashville at Bridgestone Arena with opening faceoff coming at 8:30 P.M.

Unlike Game 3 the Blackhawks would be the ones having to answer the goals from the Predators. Colin Wilson opened the scoring for Nashville with a power play goal midway through the first period but the Hawks quickly came up with the equalizer.

Antoine Vermette put his first goal of the playoffs past Pekka Renne to even the score at one just a 1:27 after the opening score.

It would take a bit long for the Blackhawks to answer James Neal's goal late in the second period but eventually they did. Eight minutes into the third period Brandon Saad tied up the game with a wrist shot that beat Renne stick side to tie the game at two.

Marian Hossa nearly won the game for the Blackhawks on the team's last offensive rush in regulation but Renne moved quickly to make the stop and force the extra session.

Things were even again through 20 minutes of the first overtime as the Blackhawks and Predators traded chances but couldn't get it past the others goaltender. Rinne even made a stop in which the puck got lost in his pads, providing a little comedic relief to a stressful playoff situation.

A second overtime period saw a bit slower pace of play as the teams combined for only 13 shots on goal with just a handful being quality chances as another 20 minutes came and went without a goal.

In the third period Seabrook ended the scoring drought quickly-just one minute in. reminiscent of Duncan Keith's game-winner in the second overtime of game one, the defensman blasted a slap shot past Renne for the game winner that was wildly applauded by most of the sellout crowd that hung around till then end.

They might have believed their was a good omen for the game thanks to the past. After 100 minutes of successful hockey, they'll believe even more now.

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