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Predators beat Blackhawks 7-5, take series 4-1

Photo: Mark Humphrey

Nashville Predators forward Craig Smith (15) is congratulated by Mattias Ekholm (42), of Sweden, after Smith scored against the Chicago Blackhawks in the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, April 12, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humph

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Patric Hornqvist scored the go-ahead goal with 58.2 seconds left and Shea Weber added an empty-netter as the Nashville Predators rallied with five goals in the third period to beat the Chicago Blackhawks 7-5 Saturday night in their home finale.

The teams combined to score seven goals in a wild and furious final period. Chicago was up 3-2 going into the third, and Nashville finally put the Blackhawks away with the two goals inside the final minute. Nashville had scored more than seven goals only once in franchise history.

Hornqvist also had an assist. Craig Smith had a goal and an assist. Paul Gaustad, Ryan Ellis, Matt Cullen and Colin Wilson also scored a goal apiece as the Predators took the season series 4-1.

Ben Smith, Marian Hossa, Matt Carey, Jeremy Morin and Andrew Shaw each scored a goal for Chicago, which finished the season third in the Central Division. The Blackhawks now must wait to see if they are playing either Colorado or St. Louis when the playoffs start.

The Predators were eliminated from the postseason for a second straight year with a shootout loss Tuesday night at Dallas, but they certainly didn't quit when they had the chance down 2-0 in the first period or trailing going into the third.

Nashville scored the first two goals of the third as Cullen scored off a rebound at 4:03 followed by Wilson scoring off a rebound of Weber's shot at 7:05. That gave Nashville its first lead of the night at 4-3.

It didn't last long as Morin scored 55 seconds later with a helping hand from Nashville defenseman Roman Josi who was trying to poke it away from the post only to knock it over the line tying it up at 4.

Gaustad put Nashville up 5-4 with 2:55 left only to see Shaw tie it up yet again with a slapshot with 1:35 remaining.

Hornqvist put Nashville ahead to stay when he tipped in a shot by Wilson. With goalie Antti Raanta pulled, Weber sealed the win with his 22nd goal this season.

The Blackhawks' faithful did their best to turn this game into a near home game with so much red sitting in the stands, taking advantage of the short flight from Chicago. They turned out even though Chicago was already locked into third in the Central Division, and coach Joel Quenneville scratched defenseman Duncan Keith for a second straight game. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews remained out with injuries waiting for the playoffs.

Hossa did not play after the first period after getting his 30th goal this season.

NOTES: Carey's goal was the first of his career in his second NHL game. ... Cullen's goal was his 600th career NHL point. ... The Blackhawks finish the season 12-3-3 in the second game of back-to-back series. ... Chicago scored five or more goals in an NHL-best 25 games.

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