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Predators beat the Blackhawks 3-2 in overtime, lead series 3-0

NASHVILLE - Over the course of three games, nothing has been typical.

The Blackhawks spent 141:05 trying to find the net in these playoffs. They lacked some of the effort fans have been accustomed to during this recent run of success, losing two home playoff games to start the series.

Even when they did get a lead, their opponent was quick to make it disappear.

Nothing comes easy in the Stanley Cup Playoffs - and it certainly hasn't for Joel Quenneville's team in their first round series with the Predators.

Now it's about to get really difficult.

Nashville rallied from two goals down in the third period to tie the game then beat the Blackhawks 3-2 in overtime to take a commanding 3-0 series lead. Kevin Fiala scored with 3:22 left in the first extra session to deliver the second one-goal loss to the Western Conference's best team in the regular season.

The Blackhawks fall behind by three games in a series for the second time in the Quenneville era. The previous came in the 2011 Western Conference first round against the Canucks which the Blackhawks rallied to force a seventh game but lost that contest in overtime.

Never has the franchise rallied back from a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series.

Another skittish first period saw the Blackhawks get outshot 19-7 with their best chance coming, of all things, on a ricocheted puck off the boards from Johnny Oduya on a clearing attempt that nearly got in the net.

A more traditional rush from an unconventional pair would finally snap the Blackhawks' postseason scoreless streak in the second period. Kruger went between his legs with a pass to Rasmussen who finally beat Rinne for the goal 1:05 into the second period. It was his first career playoff goal against the team which he scored his first NHL goal on December 8, 2015, also beating Rinne for the score on that one.

Patrick Kane reached a milestone later in the period when he fired his first goal of the postseason into the net to put the Blackhawks up 2-0. That was the forward's 50th goal of his playoff career and his first since Game 5 of the Western Conference First Round series against the Blues last April.

Despite outshooting the Blackhawks 27-22 in the first two periods, Corey Crawford held the Predators scoreless till the third. Only a bizarre bounce allowed Nashville to beat him as a shot bounced off the glass to the front of the net and on the stick of Filip Forsberg who scored to make it 2-1.

With under six minutes to play, Forsberg was in the right place again as he put a rebound past Crawford to tie the game at two.

The goaltender saved the Blackhawks on a number of occasions in the overtime, stopping eight shots from the Predators in the first 16 minutes of the overtime. That included one from Fiala that would have been a sure goal but Crawford reached out his blocker to knock it off the post and out.

But Fiala got another chance and didn't miss, taking the puck around the crease and then sneaking it into the goal to put the Blackhawks into a major hole just three games into their 2017 playoffs.