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  • Associated Press Nashville's Ryan Johansen celebrates after teammate Roman Josi scored against Chicago in the second period Thursday in Nashville, Tenn. The eighth-seeded Predators swept top-seeded Blackhawks out of the playoffs.

Friday, April 21, 2017 1:00 am

NHL Playoffs

Predators sweep away top-seeded Blackhawks

Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Roman Josi scored twice, Pekka Rinne had 30 saves and the Nashville Predators beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 on Thursday night to complete a surprising sweep of the Western Conference's top seed.

Colton Sissons also scored and Viktor Arvidsson added an empty-net goal as Nashville completed the franchise's first playoff sweep. Led by Rinne and a terrific defensive performance by their lines and defensive pairings, the Predators limited the high-scoring Blackhawks to just three goals in 13 periods.

Nashville will face the winner of the St. Louis-Minnesota series in the second round. The Blues have a 3-1 lead heading into Game 5 on Saturday in Minnesota.

Chicago became the first No. 1 seed to lose in the opening round since the Los Angeles Kings knocked off the Vancouver Canucks on their way to the Stanley Cup title in 2012. Chicago's second straight first-round exit followed a regular season in which the Blackhawks went 50-23-9 and recorded 109 points, the second-highest total in franchise history.

It was the first time a No. 1 seed was swept in the first round since the NHL adopted its current playoff format in 1994. The Blackhawks had the best record in the Campbell Conference and were the Norris Division's No. 1 seed in 1993 when they got swept by St. Louis in the opening round. That also was the last time the Blackhawks had been swept in a playoff series before Nashville's dominant performance.

RANGERS 3, CANADIENS 2, OT: In Montreal, Mika Zibanejad scored at 14:22 of overtime to give New York a victory over Montreal in Game 5.

Chris Kreider's shot on a rush went off Alexei Emelin's stick to Zibanejad for a shot into an open side.

The Rangers grabbed a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series and will look to advance when they host Game 6 on Saturday.

Jesper Fast and Brady Skjei also scored for New York.

PENGUINS 5, BLUE JACKETS 2: In Pittsburgh, Sidney Crosby and Scott Wilson scored 51 seconds apart in the third period, helping Pittsburgh eliminate Columbus in Game 5.

Bryan Rust scored twice for Pittsburgh, Phil Kessel added his second of the playoffs and Marc-Andre Fleury finished with 49 saves. The defending Stanley Cup champions will face the winner of the Toronto-Washington series in the conference semifinals.