Stunner in first round
The Nashville Predators completed an improbable four-game sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday with a 4-1 victory at the Bridgestone Arena.
Roman Josi scored twice and Colton Sissons and Viktor Arvidsson were also on target for the hosts with Jonathan Toews scoring a consolation with a little under six minutes to play in regulation for Chicago.
Amazingly the Blackhawks, after winning the Central Division in the regular campaign, could only manage three goals over the four games despite being fourth in scoring in the Western Conference during the season.
There was a palpable sense that Chicago didn't show up for the series and that is likely to lead to some significant changes over the summer as the Blackhawks look to address their early exit from the post-season the past two years.
Meanwhile this was a huge boost for the Predators who, it should not be forgotten, gave the San Jose Sharks all they could handle last year in the playoffs before falling in seven games to the eventual Western Conference representative in the Stanley Cup Final.
Nashville took out another regular season Division winner last year as well, in that case the Anaheim Ducks, but this seems a more balanced side.
Meanwhile over in Edmonton the Oilers edged closer to taking their first round series with the Sharks after defeating the visitors 4-3 at the Rogers Place.
Edmonton may not win it all this year, but like the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Eastern Conference there is no doubt as to who will be the team to watch for the next few years in the Western Conference as the young side absorbs the realities of playoff hockey.
The Predators are 15/2 for the Stanley Cup, with Anaheim 25/2 and Edmonton 14/5.
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