Quick Hits from Blackhawks-Predators Game 4: Finished too soon

Quick Hits from Blackhawks-Predators Game 4: Finished too soon

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Blackhawks’ latest playoff run is over before it really started. A hungry Nashville Predators team had their way with the Blackhawks, claiming a 4-1 victory in Game 4 and sweeping the Blackhawks out of the postseason.

As Jonathan Toews said, you can point out the Blackhawks’ problems but you also have to recognize how well Nashville played in this series – “I think it’s insulting to not give that team credit for how well they played and how well they played us specifically. I think they were relentless. Anytime we seem to start to get things going they found ways to stymie our momentum or our offense,” he said.

Still, it’s a surprise that the team that was hoisting the Stanley Cup less than two years ago is out after the first round for the second consecutive year. But that’s the way it goes. We have a few more notables to cover, so let’s get to those in our Quick Hits.

What worked: The Predators’ approach. Stick tap to the Nashville Predators: they were the better team in this series. They didn’t even toy with the notion of extending this series in Game 4, coming out with the same vigor and all-around game that got them their 3-0 lead in the first place. From Pekka Rinne on out the Predators weren’t concerned with their history against the Blackhawks. They were too busy writing a new version.

[VIVID SEATS: Get your Blackhawks playoff tickets right here!] 

What Didn’t Work: Anything the Blackhawks tried. Line changes, playing Patrick Kane every opportunity they could, puck possession, you name it. The Blackhawks didn’t do anything well on Thursday night in a game they absolutely had to have. Their start was so-so and a late push yielded better scoring opportunities but only one goal, and by that time they were down 3-0. The Blackhawks just didn’t have it, so they’re heading home early.

Star of the game: Roman Josi. He was giving the Blackhawks a hard enough time with his defensive game. On Thursday he also hurt them with his offense. Josi scored twice and was stellar throughout. You could throw Viktor Arvidsson in the mix, too. Arvidsson had a goal and an assist (he didn’t get a point on Josi’s first goal but he was in front of the net on it). Arvidsson’s great regular season continues in the playoffs.

He Said It: “It’s tough enough to lose a series and fall short. It’s a whole different story to lose four straight and get swept like we did. I think we’ve got guys in this room that have experienced the highs of going all the way. I think aside from what it would feel like to miss the playoffs, especially with the potential in this room, this has to be the next worst feeling for sure. So … yeah, again, not much to say right now.” Jonathan Toews on the Blackhawks’ early exit.

By the Numbers:

3 – Goals for the Blackhawks in four games against the Predators.

1993 – The last time the Blackhawks were swept in a postseason series before suffering the same fate on Thursday.

23:43 – Time on ice for Patrick Kane, the most of any Blackhawks player in Game 4.

123 – Shots stopped, out of 126 shots faced, for Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: What's on Stan Bowman's offseason to-do list?

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: What's on Stan Bowman's offseason to-do list?

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast Tracey Myers and Pat Boyle discuss Stan Bowman’s season-ending presser, the coaching dismissals of Mike Kitchen and Ted Dent, plus what are Bowman’s top 3 things, on his offseason to-do list?

Also, Tracey plays the Blackhawks roster game, part of their future or unclear.

Listen to the Hawks Talk Podcast below. 

Blackhawks' Trevor van Riemsdyk to play for USA at 2017 World Championship

Blackhawks' Trevor van Riemsdyk to play for USA at 2017 World Championship

Trevor van Riemsdyk has accepted Team USA's invitation to represent his country at the 2017 IIHF World Championship, the club announced Wednesday.

It will be his first career appearance in the tournament, which begins May 5 and runs until May 21 in Cologne, Germany and Paris, France.

Van Riemsdyk joins Danny DeKeyser, Noah Hanifin, Charlie McAvoy, Connor Murphy and Jacob Trouba as NHL defensemen to join the Americans' blue line group. The roster also includes Jimmy Howard, Dylan Larkin, Anders Lee and Brock Nelson, and sits at 22 players (12 forwards, seven defensemen and three goaltenders).

The 25-year-old Blackhawks defenseman set career highs with five goals, 11 assists, 16 points and a plus-17 rating in 58 games during his third professional season. He missed six weeks with an upper-body injury at the beginning of the year.

The Blackhawks' deep postseason runs and an opportunity to rest from them have prevented players from going in years past, but an early exit in the Stanley Cup playoffs gives them a chance to play for their countries — especially with the league already announcing its lack of participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Marcus Kruger (Sweden) and Artemi Panarin (Russian) are the only two other Blackhawks participating in the tournament, having accepted their countries' offers. Patrick Kane recently declined after giving it serious consideration.