Predators Win First NHL Playoff Series; Flyers, Blackhawks Force Deciders

The Nashville Predators advanced to the second round of the National Hockey League playoffs, while defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks and the Philadelphia Flyers forced decisive games with overtime wins.

The Predators wrapped up their first postseason series win with a 4-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks last night. Nick Spaling got his second goal of the game with four minutes and 53 seconds to play to break a 2-2 tie. David Legwand ensured the home team won the series by four games to two with an empty-net goal 10 seconds from the end at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

The defending NHL champion Blackhawks won their third straight game against the Vancouver Canucks when Ben Smith scored 15:30 into overtime for a 4-3 win at United Center in Chicago.

Chicago is seeking to become the fourth team to overcome a three-game deficit to win an NHL playoff series. The 2010 Flyers, 1975 New York Islanders and 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs are the only teams to achieve the feat.

At HSBC Arena in Buffalo, New York, Ville Leino scored 4:43 into overtime as the Flyers beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-4.

Philadelphia and Vancouver are scheduled to host the deciding games on April 26.

Tonight, the Pittsburgh Penguins and San Jose Sharks can advance to the second round with wins.

The Penguins and the Sharks both lead their series by three games to two going into Games 6 against hosts the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Los Angeles Kings, respectively.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dex McLuskey in Dallas at dmcluskey@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net.

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