Unfortunately for Predators rookie Filip Forsberg, his hat-trick against the Chicago Blackhawks came too late to help his Calder Trophy candidacy. But he’d probably take a playoff win over being a finalist for the award given to the league’s top rookie.
Forsberg scored three times in a 5-2 win over Chicago in Game 5 to push Nashville’s first round series with the Blackhawks to a sixth game in Chicago. The Blackhawks lead the Predators 3-2 overall in the series.
Finalists for the Calder were announced Thursday, and Forsberg was not one of them. Did he use the news as motivation? Doubtful for the young Swede. But that’s the regular season. This is the playoffs where there is only one award that matters – unless you have a Conn Smythe Trophy bonus clause in your contract.
“Obviously, it’s always special to get a hat-trick, but the most important thing is that we got the win,” Forsberg said in quotes provided by Nashville’s media website. “We had to win this game and had to take this series back a little bit with home advantage, and now we’re going back into Chicago. There is going to be a lot of pressure when we play there.”
Chicago scored first, a goal by Brad Richards at the 13:27 mark of the first. Then Forsberg answered quickly to tie the score at 1-1 before the end of the first frame.
That was the first of four straight unanswered scores for the Predators. Nashville also notched four goals in the third period to take the lead and pull away from the Blackhawks.
Game 6 is Saturday in Chicago. And Nashville’s chances of a comeback in this series remain slim, because All-Star defenseman Shea Weber remains out. But because of the rook, they still have an opportunity.
Will Chicago switch back to goaltender Corey Crawford from Scott Darling to start Game 6?
Following the backup’s performance, where he allowed four goals on 28 shots on goal, coach Joel Quenneville was mum.
Per the Sun-Times:
Quenneville did not name his Game 6 starter in goal, but absolved Darling.
“I’m not blaming the goalie,” he said. “We’ll talk about it, but he did everything right. He was fine.”
And Patrick Kane:
“He’s played great since he’s been called upon. You see their goals tonight, I don’t know if he had a chance on many of them. Whoever’s in net, we have a lot of confidence in.”
Our guess? Darling for Game 6. But if Chicago loses and he doesn’t look great – then it would be a tough choice for Quenneville in a Game 7 between Darling or Crawford.
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