National Hockey League playoffs: Predators complete sweep of Blackhawks

Paola Ditto
Aprile 21, 2017

If Blackhawks fans could have comprehended what happened Thursday night, they would have toppled over as if they were punched in the gut by a prize fighter twice their size. Viktor Arvidsson scored an empty-net goal with 1:48 remaining in the game. It was the first time since 1993 that they have been swept in a playoff series, and the first time since 1994 that any No. 1 seed suffered the same fate. Just not the way many would have predicted when the series started a week ago. Hell, that even seemed generous for the Nashville Predators.

If the season doesn't conclude in a parade, the final image usually comes with a crushing goal - like Alec Martinez winning Game 7 in overtime for the Kings in 2014.

Game 4 was scoreless midway through the second period when Ryan Johansen won a faceoff against Marcus Kruger and passed to Ryan Ellis, who sent it to Josi on his right. "I think they were relentless". We knew their defense was active, but we didn't know how active. We've got a lot of respect for them.

Like that season, the Blackhawks were dominated by the underdog who played with aggression.

Not to a team that finished with the top record in the Western Conference and had plenty of rest before their first round series.

Fifty wins in the regular season. Chicago had one even-strength goal. Toews was assisted by Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane. But he and his line were largely held off the scoresheet as well.

The Rangers grabbed a 3-2 lead in the series and will look to advance when they host Game 6 on Saturday.

When all was said and done, the Preds shutout the Hawks twice in the series and outscored them 13-3.

"Major disappointment", Quenneville said.

Toews also weighed in on the highly disappointing early elimination, or at least tried to... Every single time we couldn't start the game the right way.

As always when the team comes up short, it will be up to Hawks Vice President and General Manager Stan Bowman and come up with the explanation and adjust the roster accordingly for next season. And just like that, the defending Stanley Cup champions were into the second round with a 5-2 victory Thursday night.

Now they await the victor of the series between the St. Louis Blues and the Minnesota Wild.

Preds' goalie Pekka Rinne had more points than any Hawk heading into Game 4 (2).

This series has all the classic feelings of a series when I was a kid.

The Hawks hadn't lost four-in-a-row in the playoffs since the 2002 in the first round vs. St. Louis. Coincidentally, it's the first-ever sweep in Nashville's history.

The 55th NHL Draft will be at the United Center on June 23-24. Way too much for the slumping Chicago Blackhawks.

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