Marian Hossa went from third-period goat to overtime hero, scoring at 4:07 of sudden death to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 5-4 win over the visiting Nashville Predators in Game 5 on Saturday afternoon.
With the win, the Blackhawks have taken a 3-2 series lead, with Game 6 set for Monday night in Nashville.
Andrew Ladd, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Tomas Kopecky, and Patrick Kane also scored for the Blackhawks, who allowed the Predators back into the contest after taking 3-1 lead in the second period.
Martin Erat scored twice, while David Legwand and Joel Ward added singles for Nashville.
Although Chicago badly outshot and outplayed Nashville for most of the game, it didn't affect the scoreboard when the game was on the line. By midway through the third period, the Predators had scored four goals on Antti Niemi on just 10 shots.
The Predators appeared to have the game wrapped up in regulation, when Chicago's Hossa was sent off for a five-minute boarding major at 18:57. Hossa pushed Dan Hamhuis into the boards from behind while the Nashville defenceman was going back to retrieve the puck behind his net.
"I tried to go for the puck," Hossa said. "The guy turned his back to me. You don't want to hit a player that way, but I couldn't stop my motion."
But Kane scored short-handed with only 13.6 seconds left, banging in a rebound that was loose in the crease, tying the game at four to force overtime.
"Nothing tops it," he said. "Thirteen seconds left to tie and keep us in the series, probably. Going to Nashville down 3-2, that would be a tough game to win."
The Predators still had 3:57 remaining in the power play at the beginning of overtime, but they were unable to capitalize.
Then, moments after coming out of the penalty box, Hossa scored after Brent Sopel's point shot bounced off a few bodies before landing squarely at the side of the net.
Hossa buried it, redeeming himself for his earlier miscue.
"When I saw the puck coming to me, I just tried to put it in," he said. "What a relief. A huge win."
After the game, Nashville head coach Barry Trotz was still fuming about Hossa's hit on Hamhuis.
He compared the hit to one that Washington's Alex Ovechkin put on Chicago's Brian Campbell last month, breaking Campbell's collarbone and resulting in a two-game suspension for Ovechkin.
"I don't even know the difference looking at the two," Trotz said. "The league will handle it. I trust the league's judgment. They've been fair all the time.
"It's unfortunate Hossa comes out and scores the winning goal. Ironic how that works out, but that's the way it is."
Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne stopped 27 of 32 shots in the losing cause, while Niemi finished the game with 17 saves on 21 shots.
"It hurts," Rinne said. "Now it's going to be a big test on Monday. It's real emotional right now."