The Nashville Predators didn’t just beat the Chicago Blackhawks. It wasn’t even that “close” of a sweep, with Chicago only scoring goals in two periods and a 13-3 goal disparity overall.
Despite it being the first time an eighth seed swept a top seed (according to Fox Sports Tennessee … what a stat, right?), the Predators seemed to have at least some dark horse potential.
There were some rumblings about their potential, with Andrew Berkshire making some salient points for a Sportsnet preview:
They were horrible in the shootout and at three-on-three overtime, neither of which exist in the playoffs, and they struggled with their net empty when trailing. When it came to actually playing hockey, they were one of the best teams in the West, and their even strength play down the stretch was extremely strong. The West is wide open, all they need is Pekka Rinne to be league average.
Interesting. Still, after this sweep, the Predators aren’t denying their confidence. They’re taking the tone of a favorite rather than a scrappy underdog, and can you truly blame them for such swagger?
Pekka Rinne: “Right now, I don’t care who we play against, if we keep this up we can beat anybody.” #Preds
— Thomas Willis (@TomAWillis) April 21, 2017
Now, don’t take this as too much bulletin board material. They’re not puffing out their chests that much. Peter Laviolette, for example, supplied the more comfortable cliches.
Laviolette: “It’s good to win a series…but I promise you this, the next round will be harder than this one…” #Preds
— Brooks Bratten (@brooksbratten) April 21, 2017
Still, the winner of the Minnesota Wild – St. Louis Blues series has to expect a dialed-in opponent in the Predators.