Rinne stopped 30 s. All four lines scored in the series, and the Predators' defense came up big, no bigger than in the clincher.
The "Jesus, Take the Wheel" singer and wife of Predators center Mike Fisher had been playing it cool throughout Nashville's first-round series against the Hawks, but she couldn't resist trolling Chicago after the Predators pulled off the sweep Thursday night.
By not planning on a sweep, the Nashville Predators accomplished what few thought was possible.
The Hawks, the Western Conference's top seed, were supposed to have enough pride and enough fight at least to get deep in a series, to ramp up the drama that would increase the hurt of the fall, not to soften it by making it all seem inevitable. That also was the last time the Blackhawks had been swept in a playoff series before Nashville's dominant performance.
"When we needed a timely goal, we got it", Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "It's such a long process". I was once told by a famous National Hockey League coach it is three times as hard to eliminate a team. That's not to disrespect (the Blackhawks).
Johansen finished last year's playoffs with just four assists in 14 games.
The Predators got to him 9 minutes, 41 seconds into the second period when Josi's slap shot from beyond the right circle trickled through Crawford's pads and into the Hawks net. And when you're in the Finals, it's lightning speed and ridiculously hard.
The Predators next face the victor of the St. Louis Blues-Minnesota Wild quarterfinal, a series St. Louis leads 3-1. "Coming into the playoffs, I think we felt pretty confident".
Toews, the captain, scored on the power play in Game 4 for his only goal of the series. The Blackhawks were not only upset in their first round series of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but they failed to get a win.
It's the second straight first-round exit for Chicago and the first time they've been swept in the opening round since 1993.
I don't know how many people picked Nashville, only one of our predicting systems did, but there is no one who picked them in 4. Why?
Nashville built one of its most talent-laden teams in franchise history after an offseason that included the blockbuster acquisition of P.K. Subban in a trade that sent Shea Weber to Montreal. Winning the Central Division and Western Conference, as well as posting a 50-win season are certainly the mark of a great team, but a great team didn't show up to play against the Nashville Predators this postseason.
"We always had confidence in this locker room", defenseman Roman Josi said. "I can't remember much after that". But there are more summits to reach, including one atop which sits a certain 34 ½-pound, 127-year-old silver chalice. The Blackhawks also had gone 4-1 against the Predators during the regular season.
"We're just, we're scratching the surface", Laviolette said.
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