The Lemont native has repeatedly expressed how much he enjoys playing for his hometown Blackhawks, but he's also proven that he can handle the responsibilities that comes with being a No. 1 goaltender in the National Hockey League. The most delightful part of this story is that this was the 1-8 matchup and the Blackhawks became the first 1-seed in any major sport to get swept by an 8-seed. "I thought they executed really well".
"It's time right now to take a look in the mirror and face facts".
Playoff rookies Nick Schmaltz, Tanner Kero and Ryan Hartman buoyed the Hawks' bottom two forward lines during the regular season but were unable to elevate their games to match Nashville's postseason intensity.
This wasn't just a sweep, it was a good ole' fashioned butt kicking. If you don't have character, this is the time where you're going to doubt yourself.
The Preds outscored the Blackhawks 13-3. Rinne gave up only three goals in the series, stopping 123 shots. Both Allen and Pekka Rinne of the Predators entered the first round with much to prove, given previous playoff inconsistencies, and both helped rewrite their own playoff narrative.
Panik time: One player the Hawks would like to re-sign is winger Richard Panik, who had a career season with 22 goals. I totally didn't have to use a calculator for that because I'm good at math.
There might not be a second round at all for Minnesota, which trails St. Louis three games to one in their best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinal. In Game 1 of this series the Chicago Bulls won 106-102 and stole home court advantage from the Celtics.
"We've always had confidence in this locker room", Josi said.
Nashville has been traditionally known as a defensive-minded team.
Part of what makes hockey so interesting is that it's so hard to score, so a team can play ideal hockey for 99 percent of the game, but that one mistake could be so costly that it swings the game. The Predators flashed their superior depth up front, getting scoring from every line, and they received terrific work from their defense corps to boot. Standing in their way was a Nashville club that dominated Chicago in the neutral zone in four straight contests. He has nine goals and nine assists in 16 games against the Blues, a points total matched only by his results against Colorado.
"I don't want to go anywhere".
Only a handful of national hockey media picked Nashville to win the series. Those questions have been all but put to rest. They have championship-caliber talent over there. Still got to talk to the Hawks and see what they think.
"It might have surprised a lot of people, but probably not ourselves".
"I think after such a great regular season, the expectations going into the playoffs were maybe as high as they've ever been going into that series", Crawford said. I can't possibly root for the Nashville Predators or St. Louis Blues that would just be wrong on so many levels.
On whether the salary cap will impede changes: "The salary cap is the system we've been playing with for a number of years". "If you make the playoffs, you're a good team". They need players to stay on the ice just a touch longer in order to provide support when other players carry the puck into the zone.