NHL Playoffs: Predators sweep Blackhawks; Rangers win Game 5 in OT

NHL Playoffs: Predators sweep Blackhawks; Rangers win Game 5 in OT

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 (see full recap).

Zibanejad's OT goal lifts Rangers past Canadiens
MONTREAL -- Mika Zibanejad scored at 14:22 of overtime to give the New York Rangers a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series.

Chris Kreider's shot on a rush went off Alexei Emelin's stick right 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.

Artturi Lehkonen scored and set up a goal by Brendan Gallagher in the first period for Montreal (see full recap).

Penguins eliminate Blue Jackets with 5-2 win
PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby and Scott Wilson scored 51 seconds apart in the third period, helping the Pittsburgh Penguins eliminate the Columbus Blue Jackets with a 5-2 win in Game 5 of their first-round series on Thursday.

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 starting next week.

William Karlsson and Boone Jenner scored for the Blue Jackets, but Sergei Bobrovsky stopped just 27 of 32 shots to finish a forgettable series (see full recap).

Desharnais scores late in OT to lift Oilers over Sharks
EDMONTON, Alberta -- After struggling through the first part of the series, David Desharnais scored in OT to lift the Edmonton Oilers.

Desharnais' goal with less than two minutes to go in the first overtime helped the Oilers beat the Sharks 4-3 on Thursday night and push San Jose to the brink of elimination in the NHL playoffs.

The fourth-line center, in the slot, one-timed a Leon Draisaitl cross-ice pass past Sharks goaltender Martin Jones as the orange and blue-clad fans roared at Rogers Place.

"It feels amazing," said Desharnais, who was a trade-deadline pickup from Montreal. "Everybody was tired a little bit on the ice, so I just jumped in the hole, and (Draisaitl) made a really good pass and I just tried to shoot it as quick as I could and it went in," (see full recap).

NHL Playoffs: Tom Wilson scores OT game-winner as Capitals beat Maple Leafs

NHL Playoffs: Tom Wilson scores OT game-winner as Capitals beat Maple Leafs

WASHINGTON -- Toronto native Tom Wilson scored his first NHL playoff goal 5:15 into overtime and the Washington Capitals survived a scare to beat the Maple Leafs 3-2 on Thursday night in Game 1 of their first-round series.

The top-seeded Capitals came back from a two-goal deficit to take the early lead in the series and at least momentarily stop the panic about a slip-up. Justin Williams scored twice in regulation, and Washington showed it could handle the adversity of falling behind.

Braden Holtby was up to the task in goal, stopping 35 of the 37 shots he faced. Toronto counterpart Frederik Andersen was arguably the best player on the ice with 41 saves before being beaten by Wilson with an absurd shot on the winner.

Mitch Marner and Jake Gardiner scored in the first period for Toronto, back in the playoffs for the first time since 2013.

Game 2 is Saturday night in Washington (see full recap).

Pekka Rinne stones Blackhawks for shutout in Game 1
CHICAGO -- 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.

Game 2 is Saturday night at the United Center.

Corey Crawford had 19 saves for Chicago, which got center Artem Anisimov back from a leg injury that sidelined him for the last part of the season but struggled to find many good looks against a sound defensive performance by Nashville.

The Blackhawks, who won the Central Division this year with the most points in the Western Conference, are going for their fourth Stanley Cup championship in the last eight seasons. They eliminated Nashville during two of those title-winning runs, including in 2015 when the Predators blew leads of 3-0 in Game 1 and 3-1 in Game 6 of their first-round series (see full recap).

Ryan Getzlaf powers Ducks past Flames in series opener
ANAHEIM, Calif.-- Jakob Silfverberg scored the tiebreaking power-play goal late in the second period, and captain Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist in the Anaheim Ducks' 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames in their first-round playoff series opener Thursday night.

Rickard Rakell scored the tying goal after Calgary made a horrendous line change in the second period, and John Gibson made 30 saves as the Ducks avoided a slow start to their latest Stanley Cup playoff campaign.

Sean Monahan and Sam Bennett scored and Brian Elliott stopped 38 shots for the wild-card Flames. Calgary is winless in Anaheim since April 25, 2006, when the Flames won a playoff game in a series won by the Ducks.

Game 2 is Saturday night at Honda Center (see full recap).

NHL Notes: Connecticut politicians making pitch to bring Islanders to Hartford

NHL Notes: Connecticut politicians making pitch to bring Islanders to Hartford

HARTFORD, Conn. – Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin on Friday officially urged the New York Islanders to consider moving to Connecticut's capital city.

The Democrats sent a letter to the National Hockey League team's management, offering Hartford's XL Center as an option for its interim use.

They also suggested the downtown arena could be "a long-term solution to your needs," noting it would be transformed into "today's NHL standards." They pledged to work with "private partners to develop the building you would be proud to call hom" (see full story)."

Bruins: Bergeron listed as day-to-day with lower-body injury
BOSTON – The Boston Bruins are hopeful they won't be missing one of their top scorers when they open a crucial four-game homestand against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

Center Patrice Bergeron didn't practice Friday because of a lower-body injury suffered Wednesday in a 5-3 loss at Washington. Bergeron, who is fifth on the Bruins with 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists), played two more shifts before leaving the game for good.

General manager Don Sweeney classified Bergeron as day to day. Coach Claude Julien wouldn't rule out Bergeron against the Maple Leafs.

Predators: Longtime veteran forward Mike Riberio waived
A person familiar with the situation says the Nashville Predators have waived forward Mike Ribeiro.

The person spoke to The Associated Press Friday on the condition of anonymity because the move hasn't been publicly announced.

Ribeiro, who turns 37 on Feb. 10, has four goals and 21 assists in 46 games this season but lately has been a frequent healthy scratch.

He had 15 goals and 47 assists in 2014-15 during his first season in Nashville and followed that up with seven goals and 43 assists last season.

Ribeiro has 228 goals and 565 assists in 1,074 career games with Montreal (1999-2006), Dallas (2006-12), Washington (2012-13), Phoenix (2013-14) and Nashville (2014-17).