Blackhawks 5, Predators 4: Viktor Stalberg wins it in OT
NEIL HAYES ON THE BLACKHAWKS October 31, 2011 10:38PM
Viktor Stalberg (right) celebrates his OT goal with Brent Seabrook (left) and Niklas Hjalmarsson. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
HAWKS 5, Predators 4
Nashville 1 2 1 0 — 4
BLACKHAWKS 1 1 2 1 — 5
First Period—1, Nashville, Hornqvist 3 (Legwand, Klein), :26. 2, HAWKS, Kane 3 (Sharp, Hossa), 19:11. Penalties—C.Smith, Nas (holding), 1:06; Geoffrion, Nas (boarding), 2:47; Bouillon, Nas (delay of game), 9:38; Bickell, HAWKS (boarding), 13:17.
Second Period—3, Nashville, C.Smith 4 (Erat, Bergfors), 6:00. 4, HAWKS, Leddy 2 (Kane, Hossa), 11:51. 5, Nashville, Hornqvist 4 (Suter, Rinne), 18:48 (pp). Penalties—Hillen, Nas (high-sticking), 2:11; HAWKS bench, served by Bickell (too many men), 2:11; Legwand, Nas (tripping), 13:52; Sharp, HAWKS (goaltender interference), 17:20; Bolland, HAWKS(delay of game), 17:45.
Third Period—6, HAWKS, Kane 4 (Hossa, Sharp), 4:57. 7, HAWKS, Bickell 3 (Frolik, Seabrook), 13:08. 8, Nashville, Legwand 3 (Tootoo, Hillen), 14:49. Penalties—Erat, Nas (slashing), 5:49; Smithson, Nas (roughing), 6:15; Halischuk, Nas, misconduct, 6:15; Suter, Nas (slashing), 16:37.
Overtime—9, HAWKS, Stalberg 3 (J.Toews, Seabrook), 2:18. Penalties—None.
Shots on Goal—Nashville 9-11-8-0—28. HAWKS 8-6-18-3—35. Power-play opportunities—Nashville 1 of 3; HAWKS 0 of 7.
Goalies—Nashville, Rinne 5-4-2 (35 shots-30 saves). HAWKS, Crawford 5-2-2 (28-24).
Referees—Frederick L’Ecuyer, Brad Meier. Linesmen—Scott Driscoll, Anthony Sericolo.
A—20,721 (19,717). T—2:33.
Updated: December 2, 2011 8:22AM
Viktor Stalberg came flying down the ice, leaving Nashville Predators defenseman Francis Bouillon no choice but to give chase. Stalberg faked going wide before cutting behind Bouillon and sneaking a wrister past goalie Pekka Rinne at 2:18 of overtime to give his team another home victory.
“If he’s moving his feet, he’s one of the fastest skaters in the league, and he proved that on the last goal of the game,” winger Marian Hossa said of Stalberg, who has three goals in two games.
“It was a huge game and a great play by Viktor.”
It was an ideal way for the Blackhawks to say goodbye to October and hello to the month ahead.
November started a night early for the Hawks, if for no other reason than their 5-4 victory Monday before 20,721 at the United Center exemplified what coach Joel Quenneville’s team can expect this month.
The Hawks play 10 of 14 on the road, starting with back-to-back games against the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning, before they return home for the first of two November showdowns against the hated Vancouver Canucks.
Wins will be there for the taking — like this one against Nashville —but they won’t be easy.
“We’re plus-four in a 10-game segment,” Quenneville said. “I guess if you went along and had a plus-four in every 10-game segment, you’d be very pleased with that. We’ve had a nice schedule here at home, but in November, with the travel and some of the buildings we’re going into, we’ve got some tough tests. The six-game road trip is going to keep us busy.”
The Hawks can be successful anywhere when Patrick Kane plays like he did against the Predators.
The sniper-turned-center had his first three-point game of the season, which included shooting a bouncing puck from Patrick Sharp past Rinne for his first goal in six games with 49 seconds left in the first period. He added an assist on Nick Leddy’s goal in the second period before knotting the score with a wrister from the left faceoff circle after he received the kind of tape-to-tape pass from Hossa that he had been delivering all evening.
“[Kane] has had a great start to the season,” Quenneville said. “That trial of him in the middle is not a trial.”
Bryan Bickell gave the Hawks their first lead late in the third period, but David Legwand responded by beating Hawks goalie Corey Crawford with a rebound less than two minutes later to force overtime, setting the stage for Stalberg’s game-winner.
“I wish hockey was [4-on-4] all the time, but I don’t think I’ll get that suggestion through,” Stalberg said.
“It’s fun to play, and it suits, obviously, my game.”