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Disappointed Predators turn focus to Game 5

by Robby Stanley /

CHICAGO – The Nashville Predators don't have a lot of time to get over another heartbreaker.

The Predators are on the brink of elimination from the Stanley Cup Playoffs after losing 3-2 in triple overtime to the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday in Game 4 of the Western Conference First Round. Brent Seabrook's goal 60 seconds into the third OT put Chicago ahead 3-1 in the best-of-7 series. The Predators will try to stay alive by winning Game 5 on Thursday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN360, TVA Sports 3, CSN-CH, FS-TN).

It was the second time in the series that the Predators came up a goal short in a multiple-overtime game. They lost 4-3 in double overtime in Game 1 despite outshooting the Blackhawks 54-42. This time, the Predators outshot the Blackhawks 52-48 but were unable to solve rookie goaltender Scott Darling in extra time.

"Mentally, it's disappointing right now," Predators defenseman Roman Josi said. "If you go to the third overtime and you lose the game, it's disappointing right now, but I mean we've got to put it behind us as soon as possible. This isn't over so we've got to look forward to Game 5."

Nashville had a 2-1 lead after two periods but allowed the Blackhawks to tie the game on a goal by Brandon Saad with 8:57 remaining in regulation. Chicago outshot Nashville 10-5 in the third period and held the edge in offensive-zone time.

"I think we played two really good periods," Josi said. "In the third we sat back a little bit and they came at us, but even in [overtime] we had our chances. They obviously had their chances too, but it just kind of didn't go our way tonight."

Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne made 45 saves and kept his team in the game with some highlight-reel saves in OT. Despite being down 3-1 in the series, Rinne feels like the Predators have been playing good hockey.

"The whole series, I think we've been playing really well," Rinne said. "Like tonight, just a solid game. Both teams battled hard and we had a lot of chances. They had some chances. Just [overtime] games, it just happens like that. It's one shot and it's game over, but I thought that as a team we played really well again. It's tough to take this kind of loss, but we've got to move on and get ready for Game 5."

Rinne had a .891 save percentage and a 2.91 goals-against average heading into Game 4. He returned to his All-Star form in Game 4 and gave Nashville a chance to win.

"Pekka was really good tonight," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "Made some big saves when we needed him to. I thought our team played hard. I thought we played well. We had more than enough looks, more than enough opportunities to end the game."

Nashville will have to put the emotional loss aside to stay alive in the series.

"It's frustrating obviously, but we've done a good job of putting games in the trash can, and that's what we have to do here," defenseman Seth Jones said. "There's not much more I can say, put it behind us. We've got to take it one game at a time. It's 3-1 them, but it's not over yet."

The Predators have been a team that has relied on their resiliency all season long, and it will be put to the test once again. Laviolette coached the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs when they came back from a 3-0 series deficit against the Boston Bruins to win the series. He is confident the Predators will not go down without a fight.

"The sun will come up tomorrow," Laviolette said. "Our guys are a resilient group. They will not cave, and they will not go away quietly. They'll be ready to play Game 5, I promise you."

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