In one of the biggest surprises of the first round of the 2017 NHL playoffs, perennial contender Chicago finds themselves in an ugly and very deep 0-3 hole.
The Blackhawks have been blitzed by the speedy upstart Nashville Predators, a team that despite eking its way into the postseason has top-seeded Chicago down on the ice with a skate on their necks looking to slice open the jugular of their foes.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way for the Blackhawks who dominated the West, rolling up 109 points and home ice advantage through at least the conference finals. The team was looking to bounce back from an early ouster last season to resume their respective place among the NHL elite. Chicago has won three Stanley Cups since 2010 and were looking to make a serious run at another one this season.
But stuff happens.
The Predators rode red hot goalie Pekka Rinne to a pair of shutout wins in the first two games.
Rinne held the offensive powerhouse Blackhawks scoreless for a stunning 141 consecutive minutes before finally letting the puck get behind him at 1:05 of the second period of Tuesday night’s game 3.
But while the Blackhawks got onto the scoreboard, Nashville had the last laugh when Kevin Fiala banged home the winning goal in overtime.
— Predators Fans (@PredatorsViews) April 18, 2017
Now the Blackhawks are not only facing a must-win game on Thursday (a Neil Diamond concert gave them an extra day to regroup) but four consecutive elimination games in a row to advance to the next round. While the Hawks can’t be counted out, it’s a tough rock to roll and one hell of a big deficit to have to overcome in order to avoid what will go down as a massive fail in the Windy City.
The puck is scheduled to be dropped for the critical game four before what promises to be a raucous crowd at Bridgestone Arena who will be cheering for their beloved Predators to break out the broom for what would be an incredible and completely unseen sweep of the mighty Blackhawks.