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.
Penguins 5, Blue Jackets 2
Pittsburgh— Sidney Crosby and Scott Wilson scored 51 seconds apart in the third period, helping Pittsburgh eliminate Columbus in Game 5 of their first-round series.
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.
Rangers 3, Canadiens 2 (ot)
Montreal — Mika Zibanejad scored at 14:22 of overtime to give New York a victory over Montreal 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.
Sabres Dump Coach, GM
Buffalo, n.y. — The Buffalo Sabres cleaned house on Thursday, firing general manager Tim Murray and coach Dan Bylsma after the youthful team missed the playoffs for a sixth consecutive season.
Owner Terry Pegula made the announcement after he spent the past two days holding season-ending meetings with Murray.
Murray had completed his third full season as GM, and was responsible for overseeing a top-to-bottom rebuilding project in Buffalo.
Bylsma completed his second season. Both had three years left on their respective contracts.
After finishing 35-36-11 last season, the Sabres took a step back this past year. They went 33-37-1, finished last in the Atlantic Division standings and will now turn to searching for their fifth coach since Lindy Ruff was fired in February 2013.