COLUMBUS, OHIO – Ben Smith had the closest look and he likened it to mayhem.
Antti Raanta had the worst view on the ice and to him it was a thing of beauty.
Smith tapped in a rebound with 3.7 seconds left on a wild scrum to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night.
With time running out, Duncan Keith threw the puck on net and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky blocked it with his arm but it popped out of his reach. While he and two teammates scrambled to get to the loose puck, Smith got a stick on it and pushed it into the net.
“(Keith) is so good at getting pucks through — that first shot almost went in. I don’t think he saw it,” Smith said of Bobrovsky. “It was just kind of a mad scramble in front with people going to the net. Somehow, the puck found its way in.”
When the official pointed to the puck to signify the goal was good, it touched off a wild celebration from a large throng of Chicago fans in the capacity crowd. It also deflated the playoff hopes of the Blue Jackets, not to mention the thousands of their fans in a crowd of 18,695.
“We came up 3 seconds short,” said Columbus defenseman Dalton Prout, part of the pile of players trying to clear the puck as time sifted away.
At the far end of the rink, Raanta, giving front-line netminder Corey Crawford a night off by making 24 saves, flashed a wide smile when Smith’s inside work paid off.
“You can imagine how that feels when there is only 3 seconds on the clock and we score the winning goal,” he said. “The feeling was very, very nice.”
Flames 2, Panthers 1
In Sunrise, Florida, Mike Cammalleri scored the tiebreaking goal in the second period.
Devils 2, Capitals 1
In Newark, New Jersey, Ryan Carter scored the tiebreaking goal with 4:54 remaining.
Red Wings 3, Sabres 2
In Detroit, Daniel Alfredsson had a goal and an assist.
Canadiens 7, Sentaors 4
In Montreal, Max Pacioretty had a hat trick as the Canadiens scored seven straight goals to rally past Ottawa.
Predators 5, Ducks 2
In Anaheim, Mike Fisher had two goals and an assist, and Colin Wilson also scored twice as Nashville beat the Ducks.
Oilers 3, Coyotes 2 (SO)
In Glendale, Arizona, Sam Gagner got the tying goal with 40.4 seconds to play in regulation, then scored the winner in the fourth round of the shootout.