The Chicago Blackhawks swept in ‘Smashville’
Three-time Stanley Cup champions from 2010 have been swept in the very first round of the playoffs. Their opponent, the Nashville Predators, were the eighth place team and the complete underdog on paper. The upset marks the first time in NHL history that an eighth-seed team has swept a first seed team. The sweep was also the first done by the Nashville Predators in its franchise history.
The Blackhawks were held to a limited number of goals throughout the series. Predators’ goaltender, Pekka Rinne, held the Blackhawks to only three goals through the four games. Going into the season, the Predators were seen as contenders for the Stanley Cup, but after a lackluster start, success seemed unlikely. After the midway point of the season the Predators picked up their act and became a force to be reckoned with. They would finish the season with a 41-29-12 record, while the Blackhawks would finish with a record of 50-23-9.
Against all odds, the Predators dominated the Blackhawks through four straight playoff games.
This brings to question many different things in Chicago and changes that may need to be made. Will coaching be questioned? Or will the star Blackhawks Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews face questions? The leadership of Toews is something that is already being questioned and it is without a doubt going to be a factor next season. With how the Predators played, nobody can really fault goaltender Corey Crawford who did his best to keep the Blackhawks alive. Next season will play as a proving ground for the Blackhawks, if they wish to continue to be a threat.
As for the Predators, they await their second round opponent. They will play either the St. Louis Blues or the Minnesota Wild. The Blues currently lead that series three games to one. Look for the Wild and Blues to play again, April 22 at 3 p.m. in Minnesota for Game Five.
The Predators will certainly be watching.
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