PREDATORS COMPLETE HISTORIC SWEEP OF BLACKHAWKS
Roman Josi scored twice and Pekka Rinne made 30 saves as the Predators defeated the Blackhawks to complete the first sweep in franchise history.
Nashville, who finished in the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference, won four consecutive playoff games (at any stage in the postseason) for the first time to defeat Chicago, owners of the best record in the conference during the regular season. Nashville became the third team since 1974-75 (when the NHL introduced the conference format) to sweep the team with the best record in the conference in the opening round. The others: Edmonton swept Montreal in the 1981 Preliminary Round (best-of-five) and St. Louis swept Chicago in the 1993 Division Semifinals (best-of-seven).
Pekka Rinne, who took a shutout into the final six minutes of the third period, stopped 123 of 126 shots as Nashville outscored the Blackhawks 13-3 over the four-game series. The Predators became the 14th team in NHL history (and fifth in the past 38 years) to allow three goals against or fewer in a four-game series. Only four teams in NHL history have surrendered fewer than three goals in a four-game series: the Maple Leafs in the 1935 Semifinals vs. BOS (2 GA), the Red Wings in the 1952 Final vs. MTL (2 GA), the Ducks in the 2003 Conference Finals vs. MIN (1 GA) and the Bruins in the 2013 Conference Finals vs. PIT (2 GA).
Rinne finished the series with a 0.70 goals-against average and .976 save percentage. Elias notes that Rinne is the fourth goaltender in the expansion era (since 1967-68) to win all four games of a playoff series while recording a goals-against average of 0.70 or less. The others: Tony Esposito (0.50 GAA in 1974 SF w/ CHI), Jean-Sebastian Giguere (0.22 GAA in 2003 CF w/ ANA) and Tuukka Rask (0.44 GAA in 2013 CF w/ BOS).
Phil Kessel, who led the Penguins in goals (10) and points (22) during the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, tallied 1-2—3 to move into second place in playoff scoring (2-6—8) . . . Predators forwards Ryan Johansen (1-5—6) and Filip Forsberg (2-3—5) each notched an assist in Game 4 to finish the series with at least a point in every game . . . The NHL announced start times for First Round games on Sunday, April 23.
* Information provided via NHL Press Release