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.
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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.