Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Predators get series sweep


Roman Josi scored twice, Pekka Rinne had 30 saves and the host Nashville Predators beat the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-1, Thursday night to complete a surprising sweep of the top-seeded team in the Western Conference.

Colton Sissons also scored and Viktor Arvidsson added an empty-net goal as Nashville completed the franchise’s first playoff sweep. Led by Rinne and a terrific defensive performanc­e by their lines and defensive pairings, the Predators limited the high-scoring Blackhawks to just three goals in 13 periods.

Nashville will face the winner of the St. Louis-Minnesota series in the second round. The Blues have a 3-1 lead heading into Game 5 Saturday in Minnesota.

Chicago became the first No. 1 seed to lose in the opening round since the Los Angeles Kings knocked off the Vancouver Canucks on their way to the Stanley Cup title in 2012. Chicago’s second consecutiv­e first-round exit followed a regular season in which the Blackhawks went 50-23-9 and recorded 109 points, the second-highest total in franchise history.

It was the first time a No. 1 seed was swept in the first round since the NHL adopted its current playoff format in 1994. The Blackhawks had the best record in the Campbell Conference and were the Norris Division’s No. 1 seed in 1993 when they got swept by St. Louis in the opening round. That also was the last time the Blackhawks had been swept in a playoff series before Nashville’s dominant performanc­e.

Other game

Rangers 3, Canadiens 2: Mika Zibanejad scored at 14:22 of overtime to give visiting New York a victory against Montreal in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series. The Rangers grabbed a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series and will try to advance to the second round when they play host to Game 6 Saturday.

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