PREDATORS COMPLETE HISTORIC SWEEP OF BLACKHAWKS
Roman Josi scored twice, Pekka Rinne made 30 saves and the Nashville Predators defeated the Chicago Blackhawks to complete the first sweep in franchise history.
* Nashville, which advanced to the Stanley Cup Playoffs as the second wild card from the Western Conference, won four consecutive playoff games (at any stage in the postseason) for the first time to defeat Chicago, which had the best record in the conference during the regular season.
* The Elias Sports Bureau notes that Nashville became the third team since 1974-75 (when the NHL introduced the conference format) to sweep the team with the best record in the conference in the opening round. The others: The Edmonton Oilers swept the Montreal Canadiens in the 1981 Preliminary Round (best-of-5) and the St. Louis Blues swept Chicago in the 1993 Division Semifinals (best-of-7).
Video: Preds complete sweep of Hawks with 4-1 victory
Home Team in Caps
NY Rangers 3, MONTREAL 2 (OT) - NYR leads 3-2
PITTSBURGH 5, Columbus 2 - PIT wins 4-1
NASHVILLE 4, Chicago 1 - NSH wins 4-0
EDMONTON 4, San Jose 3 (OT) - EDM leads 3-2
RINNE GUIDES PREDATORS' STELLAR DEFENSIVE PLAY
Pekka Rinne , who took a shutout into the final six minutes of the third period, stopped 123 of 126 shots as Nashville outscored Chicago 13-3 in the four-game series.
* The Predators became the 14th team in NHL history (and fifth in the past 38 years) to allow three goals against or fewer in a four-game series. Only four teams in NHL history have surrendered fewer than three goals in a four-game series: the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1935 Semifinals vs. the Boston Bruins (2 GA), the Detroit Red Wings in the 1952 Final vs. Montreal (2 GA), the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in the 2003 Conference Finals vs. the Minnesota Wild (1 GA) and the Bruins in the 2013 Conference Finals vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins (2 GA).
* Rinne finished the series with a 0.70 goals-against average and .976 save percentage. Elias notes that Rinne is the fourth goaltender in the expansion era (since 1967-68) to win all four games of a playoff series while recording a goals-against average of 0.70 or less. The others:Tony Esposito (0.50 GAA in 1974 SF w/ Chicago),Jean-Sebastian Giguere (0.22 GAA in 2003 CF w/ Anaheim) and Tuukka Rask (0.44 GAA in 2013 CF w/ Boston).
MALKIN, FLEURY LEAD DEFENDING CHAMPIONS INTO SECOND ROUND
Evgeni Malkin (0-3-3) had his second three-point game of the series and Marc-Andre Fleury made 49 saves as the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets to become the first Eastern Conference team to advance to the second round.
* The Penguins won a series on home ice for the 15th time in franchise history; they accomplished the feat three times during their run to the Stanley Cup in 2016.
* Malkin, who had four multiple-point games in the five-game series, extended his League leads for assists and points in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs (2-9-11 in 5 GP). Elias notes that Malkin became the second Penguins player to record at least 11 points in a series of five games or fewer, joining Mario Lemieux (1991 F vs. the Minnesota North Stars: 5-7-12 in 5 GP). Edmonton's Wayne Gretzky of the Oilers had 2-13-15 in the 1987 Division Semifinals vs. the Los Angeles Kings to set the NHL record for points in a five-game series.
* Elias notes that Malkin registered at least 11 points in a playoff series (of any length) for the second time in his career (also 2013 CQF vs. the New York Islanders: 2-9-11 in 6 GP). Sidney Crosby (1-0-1), who was 2-5-7 against Columbus, is the only other Penguins player with at least 11 points in one series in the past 18 years (2009 CSF vs. the Washington Capitals: 8-5-13 in 7 GP and 2010 CQF vs. the Ottawa Senators: 5-9-14 in 6 GP).
* Fleury, who played all five games after making a surprise start in Game 1, earned his 57th career playoff win (all w/ Pittsburgh) to move past Tom Barrasso (56) for the most in franchise history. Fleury, who established a career high for saves in a regulation playoff game, ranks second among active goaltenders in career postseason wins behind Henrik Lundqvist (58).
Video: Rust's two goals, Fleury's 49 saves help Pens advance
SOPHOMORE SUCCESS: DID YOU KNOW?
Penguins sophomore Bryan Rust scored twice in the second period, including his second playoff game-winning goal, to register his third career multiple-goal game in the postseason. All have come in series-clinching wins.
* In 2016, Rust established a franchise rookie playoff record with six goals during Pittsburgh's run to the Stanley Cup, highlighted by multigoal performances in Game 5 of the First Round vs. the New York Rangers (2-1-3) and Game 7 of the Conference Finals vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning (2-0-2). His goal against Tampa Bay also stood as the series-clincher.
* Elias notes that Rust became the first NHL player to have each of his first three career multigoal playoff games occur in series-clinching wins since Jeremy Roenick achieved the feat with the Blackhawks from 1990 to 1992.
NEW ADDITIONS SCORE IN OT AS OILERS, RANGERS TAKE SERIES LEADS
The Oilers and Rangers each received an overtime goal from a player acquired within the past year to take a 3-2 lead in their respective First Round series:
* David Desharnais scored at 18:15 of overtime after Oscar Klefbom tied the game with 2:46 remaining in regulation to help the Oilers complete a multigoal comeback and move within one victory of the second round. Desharnais, who was acquired from the Montreal Canadiens on Feb. 28, scored his first career playoff overtime goal (43 GP) to help Edmonton become the eighth team to win a game in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs in which they trailed by at least two goals.
* Mika Zibanejad scored at 14:22 of overtime and Henrik Lundqvist made 34 saves as the Rangers won their second straight game to reclaim the series lead. Zibanejad, who was acquired via trade from Ottawa during the offseason, scored his first career playoff overtime goal (21 GP) after New York overcame deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 to win. Of the 35 games contested this postseason, 13 have seen a team overcome a deficit of at least one goal to win (37.1%).
* Elias notes that when teams are tied 2-2 in a best-of-7 series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the winner of Game 5 is 193-54 (78.1%).
Video: Zibanejad's OT winner gives Rangers a 3-2 series lead
LAINE, MATTHEWS AND WERENSKI VOTED CALDER TROPHY FINALISTS
Winnipeg Jets right wing Patrik Laine , Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski are the three finalists for the 2016-17 Calder Memorial Trophy, which is awarded "to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition."
Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted ballots for the Calder Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced on June 21, during the 2017 NHL Awards at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Phil Kessel , who led the Penguins in goals (10) and points (22) during the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, tallied 1-2-3 to move into second place in playoff scoring (2-6-8). … Predators forwards Ryan Johansen (1-5-6) and Filip Forsberg (2-3-5) each had an assist in Game 4 to finish the series with at least a point in every game. … The NHL announced start times for First Round games on Sunday, April 23. … Country music singer Luke Bryan sang the U.S. national anthem before Game 4 of the Blackhawks-Predators series.
SNEAK PEEK AT FRIDAY'S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Toronto @ Washington, series tied 2-2, 7 p.m., CBC, TVA Sports 2, NBCSN, CSN-DC
Boston @ Ottawa, OTT leads 3-1, 7:30 p.m., SN, TVA Sports, USA, NESN
SENATORS RETURN HOME IN SEARCH OF SERIES VICTORY
The Senators will try for a fourth consecutive victory and a spot in the second round when they host the Bruins in Game 5. Ottawa is looking to advance past the opening round of the playoffs for the first time since defeating Montreal in the 2013 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals (4-1 series win). The Senators have sealed a series victory on home ice four times, most recently in the 2007 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals vs. Pittsburgh (4-1 series win).