April 20, 2017
The Chicago Blackhawks had high hopes after the finishing the regular season with 50 wins and the most points in the Western Conference. Those hopes were quickly dashed in a one-sided and embarrassing first round sweep at the hands of the Nashville Predators.
Somehow the game went into the first intermission scoreless after a big opening period from Corey Crawford, who was the only player to show up at 7 pm. The Hawks were able to kill off two first period penalties, but were plagued by all the same problems from the first three defeats during the first 20 minutes of play.
It was only a matter of time and the Predators finally took a 1-0 lead midway through the second period. Seconds after a Marcus Kruger defensive zone faceoff loss, Roman Josi fired a slap shot from along the boards, off a pass from Ryan Ellis, which just trickled through Corey Crawford. By winning the faceoff, Ryan Johansen picked up his fifth assist of the series.
The Preds got some puck luck at 8:52 of the third period to double their lead. Crawford made the save on a Colton Sissons shot, but had no idea the puck was on top of his blocker and when he lunged back, he inadvertently threw the puck into his own net. When it rains, it pours.
Josi struck again about a minute and a half later to put Nashville up 3-0 as he drove the net and tipped home a quick pass from Austin Watson while the Blackhawks defense skated around and watched.
Jonathan Toews was able to go top shelf on Pekka Renne during a late third period power play to avoid their third shutout in four games, but it was far too little and too late. Viktor Arvidsson added an empty-net goal to ice the 4-1 victory at 18:12, his third goal of the series.
This will go down as the most disappointing first round exit since the Blackhawks won the 1991 Presidents’ Trophy and got booted in six games by the Minnesota North Stars. A lot of players and coaches in the Hawks locker room need to take a long look in the mirror after this utter embarrassment.
This will be an interesting summer for sure……