Hossa a controversial hero
It looked for a while on Saturday like Chicago forward Marian Hossa might be the biggest reason the Blackhawks lost a critical Game 5 in their Western Conference playoff series.
Instead, it was Hossa who wound up getting mobbed by teammates after his goal 4:07 into overtime produced the Blackhawks’ 5-4 victory over the Predators at United Center.
Chicago now leads the series 3-2 and will try to close out what must be a devastated Predators team Monday in Nashville.
“They played well,” Hossa said. “It could have gone either way but we found a way to win, and that’s huge momentum for our team.
“We’ll try to take the next game and win the series.”
Hossa’s game-winning goal came just 10 seconds after he departed the penalty box, the result of a five-minute boarding penalty he was whistled for after knocking defenceman Dan Hamhuis into the endboards with 1:03 left in regulation.
The penalty threatened to end Chicago’s comeback hopes, as the Blackhawks trailed 4-3 at the time. But after pulling the goalie and making a last desperate rush into the Nashville zone, the Blackhawks tied the contest on Patrick Kane’s short-handed score with 13.6 seconds remaining.
Chicago’s penalty killers bailed Hossa out in overtime, denying a woeful Nashville power play for nearly four minutes. Hossa jumped back on the ice, positioned himself near the Preds’ net and knocked home the deflected rebound off Brent Sopel’s shot.
In the minds of some Predators, Hossa should have been ejected from the game following his hit on Hamhuis.
The play bore at least some resemblance to the hit from behind delivered by Washington’s Alex Ovechkin on Chicago’s Brian Campbell during a regular-season game on March 14. Ovechkin was thrown out of that one, and Campbell only Thursday returned to game action for the Blackhawks after suffering a broken rib and broken clavicle.
Predictably, the Blackhawks saw things differently.