The top team in the Western Conference is out of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Chicago Blackhawks lost 4-1 Thursday in Nashville, as the Predators finished off their four-game sweep of their Central Division rivals.
Roman Josi's slap shot from behind the right faceoff circle gave the Preds a 1-0 lead 9:41 into the second period. His third-period tally at 10:21 gave Nashville a 3-0 advantage.
Colton Sissons picked up the team's other goal, coming 8:52 into the third period. Goalie Pekka Rinne stopped 30 shots.
Nashville, fresh off its first playoff sweep in franchise history, will face the winner of the Minnesota-St. Louis series in the second round.
Here’s a look at the rest of Thursday's playoff action.
Oilers 4, Sharks 3 (OT) | Oilers lead 3-2
The youthful Edmonton Oilers played spoiler Thursday night, coming from behind to beat the San Jose Sharks in overtime 4-3. With the win, the Oilers are now one win away from eliminating the defending Western Conference champions from the playoffs.
Patrick Maroon got the Oilers on the scoreboard first with a wrist shot 5:28 into the first period. Then came first-period markers from Mikkel Boedker and Patrick Marleau to make it 2-1 in favor of the visitors. Things could have been drastically different in the first period, though, as Edmonton had three shots clang off a pipe or crossbar.
Fast forward to the third period where the Sharks were playing prevent defense awith a 3-2 lead. As the game's final minutes of regulation were ticking off, Oscar Klefbom changed everything. David Desharnais fed Klefbom the puck near the left faceoff circle and the Oilers defenseman rifled the puck past Sharks goalie Martin Jones to tie the game with just 2:46 remaining.
Jones and the Sharks had quite the scare less than seven minutes into the extra period. An Edmonton shot from the slot got past Jones, but fell harmlessly to the ice behind Jones in the crease. The loose puck found its way behind the net, keeping San Jose's hopes of winning the game alive a bit longer. Desharnais dashed those hopes once and for all with 1:45 left in overtime with the game-winner.
The Oilers go for the close-out in Game 6 on Saturday in San Jose.
Rangers 3, Canadiens 2 (OT) | NYR leads 3-2
A redirection from Mike Zibanejad in overtime propelled the visiting New York Rangers to a 3-2 victory Thursday night against the Montreal Canadiens.
Artturi Lehkonen and Brendan Gallagher got Montreal out to a 2-1 lead in the first period. The game knotted at two with less than two minutes remaining in the second period courtesy of a goal from Brady Skjei. The Rangers' blueliner collected a rebound in front of the net and buried his opportunity past Montreal's Carey Price.
The Rangers will host Montreal on Saturday for Game 6.
Penguins 5, Blue Jackets 2 | PIT wins 4-0
Pittsburgh's postseason will continue with a second-round matchup against either Toronto or Washington after the Penguins eliminated the Columbus Blue Jackets from the playoffs Thursday night with a 5-2 win.
Bryan Rust scored two second-period goals for the Pens. Phil Kessel (1g, 2a) and Evgeni Malkin (3a) each had three points on the night. Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made 49 saves—his most in a postseason regulation game—while setting the franchise record for postseason wins with his 57th.
Highlight of the Night, Part I
How in the heck did the puck not go in? After suffering a mini collective heart attack, the city of San Jose owes Martin Jones some serious In-N-Out Burger.
Highlight of the Night, Part II
Have to imagine Viktor Arvidsson is going to wake up in a cold sweat tonight after Duncan Keith dropped the hammer on him.
3. David Desharnais (EDM) Desharnais's overtime tally capped off a huge come-from-behind 4-3 victory for the Oilers against the Sharks.
2. Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT) The netminder made 49 saves in Pittsburgh's 5-2 win to eliminate the Columbus Blue Jackets from the playoffs. Not a bad night for the team's "backup."
1. Mike Zibanejad (NYR) Zibanejad's OT winner against Montreal put the New York Rangers in a position to eliminate the Canadiens from the playoffs this weekend. Zibanejad also recorded an assist Thursday.