Sport Stanley Cup playoffs three stars: Predators bounce top-seeded Blackhawks in statement sweep

10:01  21 april  2017
10:01  21 april  2017 Source:   Sporting News

NHL playoffs: Predators claim controversial OT win, take 3-0 series lead over Blackhawks

  NHL playoffs: Predators claim controversial OT win, take 3-0 series lead over Blackhawks Yeah, just like everyone predicted. The Predators took an all-but-insurmountable 3-0 series lead overthe Blackhawks with a 3-2 overtime victory Monday, on a night in which all four NHL Stanley Cup playoff matchups went to an extra period. The last time all four playoff games went to overtime was 1985.The game in Nashville wasn't without controversy.MORE: NHL scores, news, live updatesOn Nashville's first goal, by Filip Forsberg, video showed the puck bounced high off a stanchion and back onto the ice, although Blackhawks players argued it hit the netting and thus went out of play.

2016 Stanley Cup playoffs . From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Jump to: navigation, search. "NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Sweeps ". The Puck Report. Retrieved June 16, 2016. "Blues score twice in 3 rd, top Blackhawks in Game 3 ". NHL.com. " Predators top Ducks, take first-ever 2-0 series lead".

The 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs of the National Hockey League (NHL) began on April 15, 2015, and ended on June 15, 2015, with the Chicago Blackhawks defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning four games to two in the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals.

The Blackhawks were the team to beat in the Western Conference, if not the NHL, pegged for another deep postseason in their decade-long dynastic run.

Instead Chicago's demise came swiftly and unexpectedly Thursday at the hands of the Predators in a 4-1 loss, capping a four-game series sweep.

Not since 1993 have the Blackhawks been swept out of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Back then the Quebec Nordiques and original Winnipeg Jets also qualified for the postseason. So, it's been a while since the NHL's preeminent franchise suffered a beating so thorough, so out of nowhere.

Heading in, the Predators had completed one of the more confounding regular seasons in recent memory. They were a trendy preseason pick to contend for the Cup, but injuries for P.K. Subban, inconsistent scoring and a showing-his-age Pekka Rinne meant Nashville had to wait until the final week of the season to claim the last remaining spot.

2017 Stanley Cup playoffs: Picking a winner for each Western Conference series

  2017 Stanley Cup playoffs: Picking a winner for each Western Conference series What a difference a year made in the Western Conference. Last spring, prognosticators couldn't figure right from left in a conference that was stacked top to bottom with Stanley Cup contenders. Now there seems to be only one clear-cut favorite from this year's crop with serious question marks surrounding some usual characters.Gone are the top-seeded Stars andalways dangerous Kings.The Oilers and Flames took advantage of the precipitous drop-offs in Dallas and Los Angeles and both carry young, talented cores that could threaten to disrupt the established Blackhawkian order under the right circumstance.

The 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs of the National Hockey League (NHL) began on April 11, 2012, after the conclusion of the 2011–12 NHL regular season. These playoffs marked only the second time since the 1996 playoffs in which no Canadian teams advanced past the first round.

The 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs of the National Hockey League (NHL) began on April 30, 2013, following the conclusion of the 2012–13 NHL regular season. The regular season was shortened to 48 games, and the playoffs pushed to a later date, due to a lockout.

Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson © (Getty Images) Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson

The Blackhawks, meanwhile, cruised wire-to-wire, reaching 50 wins for the second time in 90 years. Superstars Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith all rested down the stretch. The Preds accordingly opened as big-time underdogs, but the playoffs mean that sometimes what we know is inexplicably thrown out the window.

Rinne held Kane and Toews to a combined two goals and Nashville outscored Chicago, 13-3. It wasn't even very close.

For the first time since the NHL adopted its current playoff format in 1994, a No. 1 seed has been swept in the first round. It's Nashville's first series sweep in any round during the franchise's 18 seasons of existence. That it came against the Blackhawks, who eliminated the Preds to begin Cup runs in 2010 and 2015, was even sweeter.

NHL playoffs: Scores, schedule with live updates, news and highlights

  NHL playoffs: Scores, schedule with live updates, news and highlights It's going to be tough to top the action from opening night of the 2017 NHL playoffs. TheBlues and Sharks each pulled off overtime road victoriesagainst the Wild and Oilers, respectively. Meanwhile, the Rangers blanked the Canadiens; the Bruins rallied late against the Senators;and the reigning Stanley Cup champion Penguins easily handled the Blue Jackets.The second night of the NHL playoffs features the Maple Leafs at the Capitals (-250), the Predators at the Blackhawks (-165) and the Flames at the Ducks (-160) in their respective series-openers.

The 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs of the National Hockey League (NHL) began on April 13, 2011, after the conclusion of the 2010–11 NHL regular season. The first game of the Finals was held on June 1, while the deciding seventh game was held on June 15.

Game three : Blackhawks at Predators - It is easy to focus on Chicago's sudden inability to score in 120 minutes to open the playoffs , armed with the likes of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews If he does it again Nashville will have a chance to sweep the Western Conference's top team in a major upset.

Now the aim for another franchise first: A trip to the conference finals.

The Blue Jackets joined the Blackhawks Thursday in elimination with a Game 5 loss to the Penguins.

That's 100 combined regular-season wins out of the playoffs in one night.

Three stars

3. Marc-Andre Fleury, Penguins — Let's take a moment to appreciate Fleury's postseason thus far. Thrust into the starter's role minutes before Game 1, the Flower was at his very best against the Blue Jackets while Matt Murray rests and despite the absence of top defenseman Kris Letang. He made a whopping 49 saves in Game 5 as the Penguins clinched the series with ease in a 5-2 win. In total, Fleury faced 194 shots through five games, stopping 181.

2. Mika Zibanejad, Rangers — Zibanejad is something of an unsung hero for the Rangers. He picked a great time for his first career overtime goal in the playoffs, scoring with 5:38 remaining in Game 5's extra frame to put the Canadiens in a 3-2 hole. The 24-year-old also had an assist in the win.

Goaltending figures to be key as Blues host Preds (Apr 26, 2017)

  Goaltending figures to be key as Blues host Preds (Apr 26, 2017) ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues know how well goalie Jake Allen played in their first-round series against the Minnesota Wild, but they have one sobering fact staring them in the face as they prepare for round two of the Stanley Cup playoffs. As good as Allen was, Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne was even better in his first-round series, leading the Predators to a four-game sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks, the top seed in the Western Conference. Rinne shut out the Blackhawks in two of the four games and allowed a total of three goals in the series on 126 shots.

The 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs of the National Hockey League began on April 15, 2009, after the 2008–09 regular season. The sixteen teams that qualified, eight from each conference (the winner of each of the three divisions plus the five teams with highest point totals from the teams remaining)

The Blackhawks were not only upset in their first round series of the Stanley Cup Playoffs , but they failed to get a win. The Predators beat the Blackhawks 4-1 on Thursday to complete the four-game sweep at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday night.

1. Pekka Rinne, Predators — Rinne was a late Jonathan Toews goal away from his third shutout in four games. His 30-save performance in Game 4 only further solidified his dominance over a team which scored 2.93 goals per game this year. For the series, Rinne logged a .976 save percentage. The Blues' Jake Allen is the only other qualifier better than .950 so far in the playoffs.

Gotta see it

David Desharnais played overtime hero for the Oilers, scoring with 1:45 remaining — Edmonton's third unaswered goal — to complete the Game 5 comeback and send the defending conference champion Sharks home trailing 3-2 in the series.

Friday's game to watch

Game 5: Maple Leafs at Capitals, 7 p.m. ET, NBCSN (Series tied 2-2) — The Capitals averted a full-blown crisis with a win in Game 4, but they're hardly out of the woods. Each game in this series has been decided only by one goal. It's high time the Presidents' Trophy winners assert their offensive prowess on the young Leafs, but Toronto isn't going down without a fight.

Stanley Cup playoffs three stars: With West in disarray, Ducks state case as team to beat .
There's no telling whether the Blackhawks, for all their triumphs, will be able to climb their way out of a 3-0 hole,but for now they've ceded the mantleThat much became clear Wednesday when Anaheim asserted its claim to the topin completing a series sweep over the Flames with a 2-1 win in Calgary.

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