Photo courtesy of predators.nhl.com
Story by Kaitlin Reeves / Contributing Writer
To wrap up Round One of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the No. 8 Nashville Predators defeated the No. 1 Chicago Blackhawks by a score of 4-1, allowing the Predators to gain their first postseason sweep in the franchise’s 19-year history.
Before the night’s action began though, country singer Luke Bryan surprised Nashville with a performance of the National Anthem.
With no scoring in the first period and just two penalties against Chicago, the game got off to a slow start. But, Nashville was controlling the puck, keeping their speed and outshooting the Hawks 11-7.
About halfway through the second period, the first goal of the game was scored by Nashville Predators’ Roman Josi, who was assisted by Ryan Ellis and Ryan Johansen. There were no penalties in this period, but the Hawks stepped up their game and created more shots-on-goal than the Predators by 13-9.
Once the third period came along, the Preds laid into the Hawks, tacking on three more goals and putting the final nail in their coffin on a series outcome that has shocked the NHL world.
Colton Sissons provided the second goal of the game and was assisted by Viktor Arvidsson and Ellis. Josi again scored the third goal of the night as well, being assisted by Sissons and Austin Watson.
After three unanswered goals, Jonathan Toews of the Blackhawks finally put puck to net at the 14:42 mark on Chicago power play. Toews was assisted by Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane.
The Preds, however, had the final say of the night, and the series, as Arvidsson tapped in the fourth goal on an empty net. The score was assisted by Filip Forsberg and P.K. Subban.
3 stars of the night:
3.) Colton Sissons – The center accounted for one goal and one assist. The two scores gave Sissons his first career multi-goal postseason game.
2.) Roman Josi – Josi’s two goals on Thursday earned himself a new playoff career-high mark, as well his first multi-goal postseason game.
1.) Pekka Rinne – The star goalkeeper worked wonders in the net all series long, grabbing 30 saves in Game 4 alone. On the series as a whole, Rinne stopped 123 of the 126 shots put up by the Blackhawks.
Preds make history in 5 different ways
In this series, the Predators have made history five different times. Getting two consecutive postseason shutouts on the road, Pekka Rinne accounting for two assists in one game, having the first 3-0 game lead in franchise history, as well as the first 4-0 sweep in franchise history and to top it all off, being the first team in 100 years of the NHL’s existence to sweep a top ranked team as an 8-seed.
Nashville is now in a bit of a waiting game. Their Second Round opponent will be determined by the outcome of the matchup between the Minnesota Wild and the St. Louis Blues. Currently, the Blues lead the series 3-1.
Regardless, Nashville will start on the road for Games One and Two.