NASHVILLE - Anything can happen in the wide open Stanley Cup Playoffs. But even the biggest fans of hockey may not have seen this coming.
Not to a team that finished with the top record in the Western Conference and had plenty of rest before their first round series. Not to an opponent they beat four-out-of-five times in the regular season.
But indeed, it happened. 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.
This is the first time the team has been swept out of the playoffs since the 1993 Norris Division semifinals, when the Blues beat them in four straight. Just like this series, the Blackhawks were the best team in the Western Conference with 106 points while the Blues were the last team to qualify with 85.
Like that season, the Blackhawks were dominated by the underdog who played with aggression. Nashville won the first two games in Chicago without giving up a goal and then got a victory in overtime in Nashville on Monday.
Thursday wasn't quite as dramatic as Joel Quennville's team could never find a way to put themselves ahead in a must-win contest. The Predators took the lead in the second when Roman Josi's shot from the point trickled through the pads of Corey Crawford to put Nashville up 1-0. As happened in Game 3, Crawford had luck work against him in the third period as Colton Sissons' shot smacked off the crossbar, landed in the goal crease and then went off Crawford's pads for the goal to make it 2-0. Josi added another 1:29 seconds later to make it 3-0 before the Blackhawks would finally get on the board with Jonathan Toews' first goal of the playoffs
Josi added another 1:29 seconds later to make it 3-0 before the Blackhawks would finally get on the board with Jonathan Toews' first goal of the playoffs to cut the deficit back to two. But Viktor Arvidsson, who scored the first goal of the series in Game 1, finished it off with an empty-netter to end the Blackhawks season in a most surprising way.