In the first round of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the young and upstart Blackhawks found themselves as the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. In a matchup against the seventh seeded Nashville Predators in the first round, most Hawks fans didn’t think the series would be much of a challenge. Boy, were we wrong. Nashville stormed out to win Game 1, and then Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead. The Hawks won Game 4 in the Music City, and the series was tied going back to the UC for a Saturday game on April 24, 2010… A day that will live in infamy for Blackhawks fans. Back on home ice, the Blackhawks stormed out to a 3-1 lead in the second period. A shorthanded goal by Joel Ward at the end of the second closed the gap to 3-2 for Nashville. The pendulum has swung. Late in the third period, Martin Erat scored twice and all of a sudden the Preds led 4-3 with just minutes left in the game. Marian Hossa was called for a five-minute penalty for roughing, a call that we are lucky was not a game misconduct. Now one of the Blackhawks’ best players is in the penalty box for the rest of regulation, the Hawks are shorthanded, and they’re pulling the goalie. It was a recipe for disaster, and the chances that the Hawks could find the equalizer were slim. Then, Patrick Kane happened…

With 13.6 seconds left in the game, Patrick Kane scored on a rebound by Pekka Rinne to tie the game 3-3 going into overtime. Bedlam erupted in the United center. It was unbelievable. I was in a hotel room in Normal, Illinois at ISU screaming my head off. No way that just happened, right?

This goal will always stand out as one of the most incredible in Blackhawks history. As we all know, Marian Hossa came out of the penalty box in overtime to score the improbable game-winner to give the Hawks a 3-2 series lead (More on that goal in a few days). But the tying goal by Kane symbolized to every Blackhawks fan, and everyone in the NHL, that there was something special happening in Chicago. This team had that “something” that you need to win championships. They had the “it” factor.

Of course, the Blackhawks went on to defeat Nashville in six games, and eventually win their first Stanley Cup in 49 years a few weeks later. It is absolutely not crazy to say that without this game-tying goal by Kane the Blackhawks don’t win the Stanley Cup in 2010. Kane doesn’t score, the Hawks are down 3-2 going into Nashville for an elimination Game 6. In my opinion, no way they win that game. Kane’s goal here, and Hossa’s that followed, saved the season for the Blackhawks in 2010.

The Nashville series was not expected to be as difficult as it was. To this day I will argue that it is easily the third hardest series that the Blackhawks have had to go through in the past six years (Beaten by Detroit 2013, and Anaheim 2015). More from this game in a couple of days…

#9 coming tomorrow…