Blackhawks pull ahead in series after a 4-2 win over Predators

Blackhawks pull ahead in series after a 4-2 win over Predators
Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews had a goal and an assist in the 4-2 win over the Predators. (Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press)

Jonathan Toews had a goal and an assist, and the Chicago Blackhawks used a three-goal second period to beat the Nashville Predators, 4-2, in Chicago on Sunday for a 2-1 lead in their first-round playoff series.

Marian Hossa had two assists and Scott Darling made 35 saves to help Chicago win for the 20th time in its last 24 postseason home games. Brandon Saad, Brent Seabrook and Andrew Desjardins also scored in an impressive response by the Blackhawks after Friday night's 6-2 loss in Nashville.

Darling, a native of the Chicago suburb of Lemont, made his first postseason start after Corey Crawford was ineffective in the first two games of the series. The rookie also replaced Crawford in Game 1 and made 42 saves as the Blackhawks rallied for a 4-3 victory in double overtime.

Mike Ribeiro and Mattias Ekholm scored for Nashville, and Pekka Rinne had 26 saves.

The Predators' convincing victory in Game 2 led Chicago Coach Joel Quenneville to try a different look for the Blackhawks' first home game of the playoffs. Darling was in goal, and forwards Antoine Vermette and Desjardins entered the lineup after they were healthy scratches for the first two games.

The Predators were without star defenseman Shea Weber and forward Mike Fisher, who were sidelined by lower-body injuries. Fisher is day to day, but Weber did not travel with the team to Chicago and probably will be out for Game 4 on Tuesday night as well.

Weber left in the second period of Game 2 after he was checked into the boards by Saad. The captain usually pairs with Roman Josi on Nashville's top defense pairing and is a key part of the Predators' special teams.

Without Weber on the ice, the Blackhawks' top line of Saad, Toews and Hossa hurt Nashville all game long, especially in the second.

at N.Y. Islanders 2, Washington 1 (OT): After winning the overtime-opening faceoff, John Tavares scored 15 seconds into the extra period in Game 3 of the Islanders' first-round playoff series. With the crowd chanting "MVP! MVP" Tavares provided the Islanders a 2-1 series lead. And he became the first Islanders player to score a playoff overtime goal since David Volek did in Game 7 of a second-round 4-3 win over Pittsburgh on May 14, 1993. New York had lost its previous six overtime playoff games. Off the faceoff, Nikolay Kulemin fired the puck at the net from center. Capitals goalie Braden Holtby played it and gloved the puck to defenseman John Carlson, who quickly sent it up the boards. Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy intercepted the puck at the left point and shot it toward the net, where Kulemin redirected it in the circle. Holtby made a pad save and then attempted to poke the puck into the right corner. Tavares was already racing in and shoveled the shot in before Holtby could cover the post. Holtby was otherwise solid in stopping 40 shots, while showing no effects of an illness that forced him to miss Game 2. Kyle Okposo also scored for the Islanders.

Montreal 2, at Ottawa 1 (OT): Dale Weise scored the tying goal late in the third period and then won it 8:47 into overtime, and Montreal has a chance to complete a four-game sweep Wednesday, with Game 4 in Ottawa. Weise sent the game to overtime with 5:47 remaining in the third. Torrey Mitchell assisted on both goals, and Carey Price made 33 saves. Clarke MacArthur opened the scoring for the Senators at 11:28 of the first period. Craig Anderson, making his first start of the playoffs, made 47 saves in the loss. Montreal dominated at times in the second and third periods, outshooting Ottawa 31-15 through the final 40 minutes of regulation.

Vancouver at Calgary: Late