Stanley Cup playoffs three stars: Predators eliminate Blackhawks in statement sweep

The Nashville Predators completed a stunning sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL playoffs on Thursday.

The Blackhawks were the team to beat in the Western Conference, if not the NHL, but their demise came swiftly and unexpectedly at the hands of the Predators in a 4-1 loss, capping a four-game series sweep.

Not since 1993 have the Blackhawks been swept out of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Columbus Blue Jackets joined the Blackhawks in elimination, suffering a 5-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in game five.

The New York Rangers had a 3-2 overtime win against the Montreal Canadiens to grab a 3-2 series lead and the Edmonton Oilers hold a 3-2 advantage against the San Jose Sharks after a 4-3 OT victory.

Three stars

Marc-Andre Fleury, Penguins - The goaltender made a whopping 49 saves in game five as the Penguins clinched the series. In total, Fleury faced 194 shots through five games, stopping 181.

Mika Zibanejad, Rangers - Zibanejad is something of an unsung hero for the Rangers. He picked a great time for his first career overtime goal in the playoffs, scoring with five minutes, 38 seconds remaining to put the Canadiens in a 3-2 hole. The 24-year-old also had an assist in the win.

Pekka Rinne, Predators - Rinne was a late Jonathan Toews goal away from his third shutout in four games. His 30-save performance in game four only further solidified his dominance over a team which scored 2.93 goals per game this year.


David Desharnais played overtime hero for the Oilers, scoring with 1:45 remaining against the Sharks.

Friday's game to watch

Game 5: Maple Leafs at Capitals - The Capitals averted a full-blown crisis with a win in game four, but they are hardly out of the woods. Each game in this series, which is locked at 2-2, has been decided by one goal.

Read Full Story