Sport Next step for Predators: Getting beyond second round

17:53  21 april  2017
17:53  21 april  2017 Source:   Associated Press

Predators rested, ready to face Blues in surprising semi

  Predators rested, ready to face Blues in surprising semi The Nashville Predators finally get a new opponent in the postseason after their surprising sweep of the Western Conference's No. 1 seed.Their reward?

Now that they've swept the Western Conference's top seed out of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Nashville Predators want to continue making history by finally advancing beyond the second round . The Predators have been around since 1998-99 but never have won a second - round playoff series.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Now that they’ve swept the Western Conference’s top seed out of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Nashville Predators want to continue making history by finally advancing beyond the second round .

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Now that they've swept the Western Conference's top seed out of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Nashville Predators want to continue making history by finally advancing beyond the second round.

The Predators have been around since 1998-99 but never have won a second-round playoff series. They came close last year before losing a seventh game to the San Jose Sharks.

Then again, the Predators also had never recorded a playoff sweep or had won a postseason series with the Chicago Blackhawks before this week.

NHL playoffs 2017: Second-round predictions

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Now that they've swept the Western Conference's top seed out of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Nashville Predators want to continue making history by finally

The Predators have been around since 1998-99 but never have won a second - round playoff series. Now they're eager to take the next step . "We're just, we're scratching the surface," Laviolette said. "It's a job well done, but when we wake up tomorrow, we've got to go back to work.

"We've got a lot of work to do," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said Thursday night after a 4-1 victory that completed the stunning sweep of Chicago. "It's such a long process. I promise you this, the next round will be harder than this one. That's not to disrespect (the Blackhawks). It's just the way the playoffs go. It gets harder in the second round. It gets harder in the third round. And when you're in the Finals, it's lightning speed and ridiculously hard. That's the nature of the Stanley Cup playoffs."

The Predators next face the winner of the St. Louis Blues-Minnesota Wild quarterfinal, a series St. Louis leads 3-1.

"Right now, I don't really care who we play against," goalie Pekka Rinne said. "If we can keep this up, I feel really confident facing anybody."

Preds beat Chicago 3-2, push Hawks to brink of elimination

  Preds beat Chicago 3-2, push Hawks to brink of elimination Kevin Fiala scored on a backhander 16:44 into overtime, and the Nashville Predators rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the third period to push the Blackhawks to the brink of elimination with a 3-2 victory early Tuesday morning in Game 3 of the first-round series. BOX SCORE:  PREDATORS 3, BLACKHAWKS 2Filip Forsberg scored twice in the third period to force overtime. Pekka Rinne made 34 saves, even with his franchise playoff scoreless streak ending early in the second period at 141 minutes, 5 seconds.Game 4 is Thursday night in Nashville.

The Predators have been around since 1998-99 but never have won a second - round playoff series. Now they're eager to take the next step . "We're just, we're scratching the surface," Laviolette said. "It's a job well done, but when we wake up tomorrow, we've got to go back to work.

The Predators have been around since 1998-99 but never have won a second - round playoff series. Now they're eager to take the next step . "We're just, we're scratching the surface," Laviolette said. "It's a job well done, but when we wake up tomorrow, we've got to go back to work.

Rinne has reason to feel confident after allowing just one even-strength goal during the entire series with Chicago. The Predators got peak performances up and down their roster in outscoring the Blackhawks 13-3 and avenging 2010 and 2015 first-round playoff losses to Chicago.

This marked the first time a No. 1 seed has lost in the opening round since the Los Angeles Kings knocked off the Vancouver Canucks on their way to the Stanley Cup title in 2012. The Predators became the first team to sweep a No. 1 seed in the opening round since the NHL adopted its current playoff format in 1994.

"I think we'll probably gain a little more respect around the league," forward Colton Sissons said.

The Predators finally are performing up to their lofty preseason expectations.

Nashville built one of its most talent-laden teams in franchise history after an offseason that included the blockbuster acquisition of P.K. Subban in a trade that sent Shea Weber to Montreal. But the Predators were inconsistent during the regular season and struggled enough to get stuck facing the Western Conference's top seed in the opening round of the playoffs.

Blackhawks vs. Predators: Chicago needs something from Patrick Kane in Game 3

  Blackhawks vs. Predators: Chicago needs something from Patrick Kane in Game 3 The Chicago Blackhawks are perplexing. Chicago coasted into the Stanley Cup playoffs after a terrific spring carried them to the best record in the Western Conference. No clue where those guys went. The Chicago Blackhawks are perplexing.

The Predators have been around since 1998-99 but never have won a second - round playoff series. Now they're eager to take the next step . "We're just, we're scratching the surface," Laviolette said. "It's a job well done, but when we wake up tomorrow, we've got to go back to work.

The Predators have been around since 1998-99 but never have won a second - round playoff series. Now they're eager to take the next step . "We're just, we're scratching the surface," Laviolette said. "It's a job well done, but when we wake up tomorrow, we've got to go back to work.

"We always had confidence in this locker room," defenseman Roman Josi said. "Even the years before when there wasn't much attention on our team, we always had confidence, and I thought we played really well toward the end of the season. We had our struggles early on in the year, but toward the end of the season we played more consistent, and we carried that into the playoffs."

Ryan Johansen has stepped up his game by collecting one goal and five assists in the four-game sweep. Nashville's No. 1 line of Johansen, Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson had a dominant first-round series and will try to maintain that momentum the rest of the postseason.

This marks the fourth time in the last seven seasons that the Predators have reached the second round of the playoffs. They lost a six-game series to Vancouver in 2011 and fell in five games to the Phoenix Coyotes in 2012 before taking San Jose to a seventh game last season.

Now they're eager to take the next step.

"We're just, we're scratching the surface," Laviolette said. "It's a job well done, but when we wake up tomorrow, we've got to go back to work. There's a lot of work left to do."

Why wasn’t goalie interference called on the game-tying goal in Blackhawks-Predators?

  Why wasn’t goalie interference called on the game-tying goal in Blackhawks-Predators? Game 3 between the Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators headed to overtime Monday night after a controversial call in the third period. Viktor Arvidsson appeared to commit goalie interference on the Predators’ game-tying goal, but the referees allowed it to stand after video review. Here’s the play at hand:pic.twitter.com/NqFG35N3Zm— ⓂarcusD (@_MarcusD2_) April 18, 2017So what gives?The simple answer is that the NHL rulebook made this a judgment call for the referees regarding whether Arvidsson made incidental contact with Crawford.

The Predators have been around since 1998-99 but never have won a second - round playoff series. Now they're eager to take the next step . "We're just, we're scratching the surface," Laviolette said. "It's a job well done, but when we wake up tomorrow, we've got to go back to work.

The Predators have been around since 1998-99 but never have won a second - round playoff series. Now they're eager to take the next step . "We're just, we're scratching the surface," Laviolette said. "It's a job well done, but when we wake up tomorrow, we've got to go back to work.

PHOTOS: 2017 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS

Pekka Rinne, Predators beat Blackhawks 1-0 in Game 1 .
Pekka Rinne made 29 saves, Viktor Arvidsson scored in the first period and the Nashville Predators beat the Chicago Blackhawks 1-0 on Thursday night in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series. Rinne's second career postseason shutout sent Nashville to just its second playoff win in Chicago in seven tries. The Predators did not have a 1-0 victory during the regular season.BOX SCORE: PREDATORS 1, BLACKHAWKS 0Game 2 is Saturday night at the United Center.

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