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Predators Sweep Blackhawks to Open 2017 NHL Playoffs

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistApril 21, 2017

Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi (59), of Switzerland, celebrates with Filip Forsberg (9), of Sweden, and Ryan Ellis (4) after Josi scored against the Chicago Blackhawks during the second period in Game 4 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series Thursday, April 20, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

The Nashville Predators capped off the franchise's first playoff sweep Thursday night with a 4-1 Game 4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks at Bridgestone Arena. 

Roman Josi was the man of the hour, with two goalsincluding a game-sealing tally in the third period to put Nashville up 3-0, as the NHL documented on Twitter: 

NHL @NHL

The @PredsNHL. Came. To. Play! #StanleyCup https://t.co/wHbFkep3xY

Furthermore, Josi's effort helped the Predators achieve something no team had against the Blackhawks since 1993, according to Hockey Night in Canada's David Amber: 

David Amber @DavidAmber

Last time the Blackhawks were swept in playoffs was 1993 vs. Blues and Cujo.

TSN 1260's Jason Gregor provided more context behind Chicago's shocking playoff ouster: 

Perhaps even more noteworthy is the Blackhawks were limited to three goals the entire series, as the Predators shut them down repeatedly, per NBC Sports' Liam McHugh:  

Liam McHugh @liam_mchugh

The Blackhawks have never scored fewer than 3 goals in a best-of-seven series. They have 2 with time running out. @NHLonNBCSports

The Predators were able to put the clamps on the Blackhawks thanks to a pair of shutouts back in the Windy City—results that have been rather rare over the past decade-plus. According to the Tennessean's Adam Vingan, the Predators became the first team in the past 15 years and only the third to post consecutive postseason shutouts on the road in Chicago.

Predators vs. Blackhawks Results
GameResult
Game 1Nashville 1, Chicago 0
Game 2Nashville 5, Chicago 0
Game 3Nashville 3, Chicago 2 (OT)
Game 4Nashville 3, Chicago 1
NHL.com

And in an ironic twist, Bourbon Street Shots' Mason Ginsberg noted the No. 1-seeded Blackhawks were overshadowed in the win column by their eighth-seeded counterparts on the hardwood:

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Mason Ginsberg @MasonGinsberg

Raise your hand if you had the Bulls winning more playoff games than the Blackhawks this season

  

However, the New York Daily News' Peter Botte noted the NHL postseason tends to be an unpredictable beast: 

Peter Botte @PeterBotte

Blackhawks have won 3 Cups and been eliminated in the first round 3 times in the last seven years. This sh*t ain't easy.

Thanks to Thursday's win, the Predators will have ample time to prepare for their eventual second-round matchup. The Predators will meet either the St. Louis Blues or Minnesota Wild with a trip to the Western Conference Final on the line. 

Entering Saturday's Game 5, the Blues own a 3-1 series lead over the Wild and appear primed for a date with the upstart Predators.

   

For more news, rumors and related stories about the Nashville Predators and the NHL, check out the NHL and Predators streams on Bleacher Report's app.

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