NHL.com: Preds know fast bounce-back is needed

Sunday, 04.25.2010 / 3:57 PM CT / Nashville Predators Playoffs Coverage
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NHL.com: Preds know fast bounce-back is needed
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CHICAGO – The Nashville Predators sat at their lockers Saturday evening with blank stares and their pads still strapped in place.

The sting of losing Game 5 to the Chicago Blackhawks in a tight Western Conference Quarterfinals series was still fresh in their minds. Like most who watched the overtime thriller, the Preds couldn’t believe what transpired.

They’d just seen Chicago’s Patrick Kane backhand a shorthanded goal past Pekka Rinne off a rebound to tie it with just 13.6 seconds left in regulation. Then Marian Hossa scored the game winner just 10 seconds after being released from the penalty box after a major boarding call gave Nashville a power play for the first four minutes of overtime.

It was a surreal ending. Suddenly the Preds were down 3-2 in the series instead of up by a game headed back to Nashville for Monday’s Game 6 (9 p.m. ET, TSN). They looked stunned in the aftermath, but vowed to bounce back strong Monday.

"I’m not really worried about how it ended," said forward Steve Sullivan, who assisted on Nashville’s first goal and finished plus-1 during 19:56 of ice time. "You know … it ended. We’ve got to find a way to regroup here and get ready for the next one."

Sitting just a few feet away was forward Joel Ward, who tallied a goal and an assist. Ward was also standing in front of the Nashville goal when Kane slid in behind him, scooped a rebound near his feet and flicked it into the goal to give the Hawks new life. In the Chicago dressing room, Kane called it the biggest goal that he’d ever scored.

Ward just hunched his shoulders and tried to explain what happened.

"There were two guys in front of me, and they just got a rebound and put one in," he said. "I don’t know what else to yell you. It definitely hurts to lose."

Ward also had the puck deflect off his stick right to Hossa on the game winner. He looked dazed, but was blunt when asked how the Preds will respond.

"You’ve just got no choice," he said. "It’s do-or-die now. Simple as that. It was a tough loss, but we’ve got no choice but to get back home and win there."

They can also learn something from it -- particularly how to play with a lead late in games. After Hossa’s penalty, the Predators centered the puck on their power play in the Hawks' zone instead of keeping it near the boards with the clock winding down.

That allowed Jonathan Toews to collect the puck and bring it up while Hawks goalie Antti Niemi skated off for an extra attacker to make it 5-on-5. Kane scored not long after, and just like that the Preds went from the verge of stealing one to the verge of letting it slip away.

"That would have been a steal for sure if we’d have won that game, but we didn’t deserve it," Rinne said. "We just have to learn from this. Those last few minutes we have to play winning hockey. Now it’s going to be a big test on Monday. We’ve got to bounce back."

Author: Brian Hedger | NHL.com Correspondent

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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 26 37 15 63
M. Ribeiro 82 15 47 11 62
R. Josi 81 15 40 15 55
S. Weber 78 15 30 15 45
C. Smith 82 23 21 11 44
C. Wilson 77 20 22 19 42
M. Fisher 59 19 20 4 39
J. Neal 67 23 14 12 37
R. Ellis 58 9 18 8 27
S. Jones 82 8 19 3 27
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 41 17 6 .923 2.18
C. Hutton 6 7 4 .902 2.61