UA-59049186-1 Predators 4, Blackhawks 1, Predators win series 4-0 - Good if it Goes

Predators 4, Blackhawks 1, Predators win series 4-0

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Three goals in four games doesn’t cut it. The depth that got the team the best record in the west was nowhere to be found and as a result, Nashville was able to take the Blackhawks’ stars out of it. For the second straight post-season, Jonathan Toews had no left wing. Artem Anisimov was either not 100% or very rusty or both. After a dismal performance at the faceoff dot in game 3, Q had Toews center Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin and that line was able to generate some chances, but a byproduct of that was three lines worth of meh. Nick Schmaltz and Ryan Hartman were less bad, but neither was what I would call good and certainly nowhere near level at which they played during the regular season. Marcus Kruger played rather well. It’ll be interesting to see how he’s handled this off-season. If the team thinks he can provide more offense than he has during the majority of his career, his contract isn’t a total albatross. Complicating matters is the other guy who’s been mentioned as a potential loss to the expansion draft, Trevor van Riemsdyk was one of the better players during the series.

Duncan Keith was nothing close to his 2015 self, which was so sorely needed. Ditto Johnny Oduya. He just looked old. Michal Kempny was surprisingly fine. I wouldn’t make any major decisions in the off-season based on him being a major factor, but this was at least encouraging. There appears to be at least a chance for a good season out of him next year.

Corey Crawford was fine. The first one he should have stopped. The second he ended up putting in himself when the puck landed on him and he swung backwards not knowing where it was. That was the second goal this series that was the result of a bad bounce that Crawford couldn’t find, but he made more than enough great saves to make up for those.

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The thought that going on autopilot and resting player the week before the playoffs started should be immediately discarded. The goal that week was just get through it without anyone getting hurt, as it should have been. The playoffs are a different animal from the regular season and the best teams can flip that switch. In the past, the Hawks have been able to and there was reason to believe they’d be able to again this year. But the inexperience finally caught up to them. In the season preview blog, I said I thought the team had enough to make a run in the playoffs, but winning the Cup seemed awfully unlikely due to the youth the team was going to rely on. I didn’t expect 50 wins or 109 point or the top record in the west. So I guess how you look at this season is up to you. You can say they overachieved in the regular season and look forward to the young guys maturing or say they choked in the playoffs. I pick the the former. Because the future remains bright. Guys like Schmaltz and Hartman turned in very impressive rookie seasons and there’s more where that came from. And there’s a great front office that can re-tool the team and try to make a run next year. And there’s a great coach who can put it all together. I’ll discuss any moves as they’re made and the prospects during the summer, likely after the draft. Again, the future is bright, but I get it, right now it just stings. So, to paraphrase the great Pat Foley that’s the story of the 2016-17 season. We hope you enjoyed the blogs, in spite of the outcome.

Twitter: @KSchroeder_312

E-mail: schroeder.giig@gmail.com

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