The Chicago Blackhawks trailed early, but they stormed back and used a late goal from Duncan Keith as they won Game 6 over the Nashville Predators by a score of 4-3 to win their best-of-seven series.
The Predators got on the board first as James Neal scored on their very first shot of the game. The forward carried over his excellent play from the previous game as he delivered a great check to jar the puck loose, and he maneuvered his way past Johnny Oduya to pick up a quick 1-0 lead over the Blackhawks.
Kimmo Timonen was sent off to the penalty box shortly after the goal, and the Predators took quick advantage as they scored again. Cody Franson hammered a shot in from the point, and Neal skated across the front of the netmouth and deflected a shot inside the far post to give the Predators a 2-0 lead.
With nine minutes to go in the first period, the Blackhawks struck back and got on the board for the first time. Duncan Keith fired in a shot from the point, and after finding some open ice in the near face-off circle, Patrick Sharp grabbed the rebound and drilled home a shot to put the Blackhawks down a goal at 2-1.
Just a short time later, the Predators chased Scott Darling from the game as they scored again. Matt Cullen did the honors on this occasion, weaving through traffic before beating Duncan Keith and flipping a wrist shot into the net to make it a 3-1 lead for Nashville.
The Blackhawks got a power play of their own shortly after the goal, and for the first time since Game 1 they were able to score a goal on the man-advantage. Jonathan Toews did some nice work to win a face-off in the offensive zone, and after Sharp fired a low shot through the zone, it deflected off of the captain’s skate and into the cage to trim the lead down to 3-2 late in the frame.
With less than 10 seconds to go in the period, the Blackhawks capped off a wacky period as they scored to tie the game. Patrick Kane got the puck off the draw, and his low shot through the zone found its way through traffic and past Pekka Rinne to knot things up at 3-3 after a wild 20 minutes of play.
Early in the second period, both teams got odd-man rush opportunities, but neither were able to convert. First it was Brad Richards getting in on a breakaway after weaving his way through the defense, but Rinne made the save. At the other end, Mike Fisher broke out on a 2-on-1 rush, but Corey Crawford was able to knock the puck aside to end the opportunity.
The Blackhawks kept the momentum on their side as they got more good chances with Keith and Toews, but Richards was whistled for a sketchy penalty to give the Predators a power play. The Hawks did do a nice job killing the call off, but not before Crawford had to make a couple of spectacular plays to keep things tied up.
The end of the period saw the Hawks get a few more quality chances, but a puck evaded Kane on a pass from Kris Versteeg, and things stayed knotted up after two periods of play.
The two teams spent most of the third period tied up, but Viktor Stalberg's failed clearing attempt gave the Blackhawks a really long possession in the offensive zone. Finally, Duncan Keith was able to break the deadlock as his shot from the point found its way through traffic and rolled past Rinne to give the Hawks a 4-3 lead.
Rinne was pulled from the net late in the game, but the Hawks did a really good job of keeping them from crossing the offensive blue line, and the clock ran out on Nashville's chances as the Hawks advanced to the next round.
The team the Blackhawks will be taking on hasn't been decided just yet, with the Minnesota Wild leading the St. Louis Blues by a 3-2 margin in the series. Game 6 will take place in St. Paul on Sunday.