Celtics take first series lead after beating Bulls(again)108-97

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BOSTON—The Celtics and Bulls found another thing to argue about after Game 5 of their spirited first-round playoff series: Was Avery Bradley more impressive on offense, or on defense? ”Everyone knows he’s a good defender. Tonight, he got his offensive game going,” Dwyane Wade said after Bradley scored 24 points to lead Boston to a 108-97 victory and a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.
”You expect him to do what he does defensively, but we gave up 24 points to him tonight. He hurt us offensively tonight more than anything.”
Isaiah Thomas also scored 24 for the Celtics, the top seed in the East. After the road team won each of the first four games, the Celtics won at home in Game 5 to earn a chance to eliminate the Bulls on Friday night in Chicago. A Bulls victory would force the series back to Boston for a decisive Game 7 on Sunday.Al Horford had 21 points, nine assists and seven rebounds for the Celtics. Bradley’s 24 points were a career playoff high, but after watching him hold Bulls star Jimmy Butler to 14 points – and just one foul shot – Celtics coach Brad Stevens praised Bradley’s defense.
”Jimmy Butler’s a hard guy to guard. Dwyane Wade’s a hard guy to guard. You’re not going to stop those guys, but you just try to make it as hard as possible,” Stevens said. ”Avery … has done a really good job.”
Butler, who shot 23 free throws in Game 4 and made 19, was 0 for 1 on Wednesday.
”I was trying to eliminate letting Jimmy Butler get to the free throw line. That was my goal this game, and I feel like I did it,” Bradley said.
Wade had 26 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. But Wade and Robin Lopez were called for technical fouls 32 seconds apart with just under five minutes left, helping the Celtics to a 20-5 run that turned an 84-84 game into a 15-point Boston lead.The Bulls cut it to nine before Horford got loose for a dunk, Wade missed a 3-pointer and then Horford fed Jae Crowder for a layup that made it 108-95 with 99 seconds to play.Despite the technical fouls, there was little of the tension that characterized Game 4, when Butler and Marcus Smart got in each other’s face on the court and continued the criticism in their postgame comments.The Celtics started slowly on their home court, making just one of their first nine shots to fall behind 12-4. Boston missed its first eight 3-point attempts before making three in a row at the end of the first quarter.

 

NOTES—Before winning the first two games of the series, the Bulls had only won one playoff game in Boston ever – Game 1 of the 2009 first round. … Butler brought the ball down with 6.2 seconds left in the third quarter and hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Bulls an 81-79 lead. … The Bulls had 16 turnovers that led to 23 Boston points. The Celtics only had six turnovers, leading to four Bulls points…..There were at least nine members of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots in the crowd, and a handful of players from the Boston Bruins as well. … Thomas missed his first four shots and didn’t make a basket until a second-chance 3-pointer with 42 seconds left in the first half. … Gerald Green made his third start, but he played less than 13 minutes and finished with two points after scoring 18 with seven rebounds in Game 4.Rajon Rondo, who was the point guard on the 2008 Celtics team that won the franchise’s record 17th NBA title, did not play for the third straight game because of the broken thumb and strained ligament in his right wrist. He was on the court handling a basketball with his left hand before the game, then sat on the Bulls bench in a suit – this one with sleeves – and cheered on his teammates.The Bulls fell to 0-3 without him in the series, with Wade largely taking over as point guard in Game 5.Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg made waves after Game 4 when he questioned whether Thomas was getting away with carrying the ball when he dribbled.Thomas took exception with the suggestion, saying it was the way he’d dribbled his entire career and was no different than the style of other All-Stars such as LeBron James and Rondo.The final question to Hoiberg Wednesday was whether he’d had spotted any illegal dribbles from Thomas in the Game 5 loss.
”No,” he said, before walking out.

Slow start again does Bulls in as Celtics even up E.Qtr-Finals 2-2.

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Isaiah Thomas scored 33 points, and the Boston Celtics beat the Bulls 104-95 on Sunday to tie their first-round playoff series at 2-all.Boston blew a 20-point lead, but Thomas keyed a third-quarter run that put the Celtics back on top after Bulls briefly went ahead.Gerald Green made four 3-pointers on his way to 18 points, helping the top-seeded Celtics return the favor in the United Center after dropping the first two games at home. Al Horford added 15 points and 12 rebounds.Game 5 is Wednesday in Boston.Jimmy Butler carried the Bulls with 33 points and nine assists. Nikola Mirotic and seldom-used Isaiah Canaan each scored 13 points, but Dwyane Wade finished with just 11.Canaan made his first appearance since April 10, with Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg searching for help at point guard with Rajon Rondo missing his second straight game because of a broken right thumb.The Celtics led by 20 in the second quarter and were still up 10 in the third when the Bulls scored 12 straight. The Bulls went ahead 65-63 on Robin Lopez’s hook shot with 4:35 left in the quarter.Thomas answered with back-to-back layups and scored 10 points in a 12-0 run that gave the Celtics a 75-65 lead, and they withstood a push by the Bulls early in the fourth.With Thomas and Green each scoring 16 in the first half, the Celtics carried a 57-46 lead into the break.Butler led the Bulls with 17 in the half. But the offense struggled in a big way with Rondo unavailable. Jerian Grant started and went to the bench after about five ineffective minutes. Michael Carter-Williams then picked up two quick fouls, forcing the Bulls to go with Canaan in the first quarter.The Celtics, meanwhile, led 41-21 early in the second quarter. But things started to turn after Canaan stole the ball from Marcus Smart and scored on a layup.Smart feigned throwing the ball at Butler. The two came nose to nose, resulting in technical fouls for both players, and the Bulls started to shoot their way back into it.Mirotic hit a pair of 3-pointers and scored eight in the quarter. Bobby Portis cut it to 52-42 with his basket late in the half, and Butler hit two free throws with 22.6 seconds left to make it 57-46.

NOTES—The NBA fined Rondo for attempting to trip Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder from the bench in Game 3. Crowder jawed at the Bulls’ bench after hitting a jumper and Rondo extended his leg as Crowder walked by….Hoiberg figures to be fined next for his comments about Thomas,claiming the Boston guard carries the ball everytime he dribbles……Thomas was just 1 of 9 on 3-pointers but made 12 of 13 free throws…..Butler made 19 of 23 foul shots after failing to get to the line in Game 3. … Canaan was inactive for the first three games.

Celtics bounced back, beat Bulls who were hurting without injured Rajon Rando

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Al Horford had 18 points and eight rebounds, Isaiah Thomas scored 16 points, and the top-seeded Boston Celtics beat the Bulls 104-87 on Friday night after dropping the first two games of their opening-round series at home.The Celtics pulled away after a 20-point lead shrunk to one early in the third quarter and put themselves in position to tie a series that was in danger of slipping away from them. Game 4 is Sunday in the United Center.Dwyane Wade scored 18 and Jimmy Butler had 14 points on 7-of-21 shooting, and the offense simply didn’t click the way it had been, with Rajon Rondo out indefinitely with a broken right thumb. The Bulls shot about 39 percent and committed 18 turnovers.Thomas, grieving the death of his sister in a car accident last week, rejoined the team after spending time with his family in Tacoma, Washington. He scored eight points in the third quarter, helping the Celtics regain control.Jae Crowder finished with 16 points. Avery Bradley scored 15 and hit four of Boston’s 17 3-pointers.The Celtics’ lead was down to 44-43 early in the third when Thomas hit Horford for an alley-oop dunk and nailed back-to-back 3-pointers. Boston maintained a comfortable edge after that.The Celtics led by 18 after hitting 7 of 11 3-pointers in the first quarter and were up 37-17 early in the second before the Bulls jumped back into it.They had the crowd rocking in the closing minute of the half. Nikola Mirotic nailed a 3, cutting it to 44-41, and pointed toward the sky. Wade then blocked Bradley’s 3, causing a shot-clock violation with 4.7 seconds left, before Butler missed a desperation 3 for the Bulls as time expired.Celtics Coach Brad Stevens shook up the lineup looking for more shooting and athleticism. Gerald Green started over Amir Johnson and had eight points in 21 minutes.The Bulls are 121-50 all-time in home playoff games.Rondo, who was injured in Game 2, will probably be re-evaluated in a week to 10 days. The Bulls said he won’t need surgery.He watched from the sideline and got in on the action to some extent late in the first quarter. Crowder jawed at the Bulls’ bench after hitting a jumper and Rondo extended his leg as he walked by

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NASHVILLE—Pekka Rinne stopped almost every shot he faced. Nashville’s top line was outstanding, and Roman Josi and P.K. Subban keyed a solid defensive performance.The Predators were relentless, all the way to the very end. Way too much for the slumping Blackhawks.Roman Josi scored twice, Rinne had 30 saves and Nashville beat the Hawks 4-1 on Thursday night to complete a surprising sweep of the Western Conference’s top seed.

 
”It’s definitely a great feeling,” Josi said. ”I thought we played a great series. That’s a great team over there. We’ve got a lot of respect for them. They’ve got some world-class players and I thought we played really well in all those four games.”

 
Colton Sissons also scored and Viktor Arvidsson added an empty-net goal as Nashville completed the franchise’s first playoff sweep. Led by Rinne’s shutouts in the first two games, 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.The Hawks 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.The Hawks 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.

 
”Not good enough,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. ”I don’t think anybody exceeded their expectations, didn’t compete to the level that’s necessary. I take that personally as a coach to find the `all-out’ button and didn’t get the job done.”

 
It was the first time a No. 1 seed was swept in the first round since the NHL adopted its current playoff format in 1994. The Blackhawks had the best record in the Campbell Conference and were the Norris Division’s No. 1 seed in 1993 when they got swept by St. Louis in the opening round. That also was the last time the Blackhawks had been swept in a playoff series before Nashville’s dominant performance.

 
”It’s tough enough to lose a series and fall short,” captain Jonathan Toews said. ”It’s a whole different story to lose four straight and get swept like we did.”

 
It was particularly sweet for Nashville after it was eliminated by the Hawks during the Blackhawks’ 2010 and 2015 Stanley Cup title runs. The Blackhawks also had gone 4-1 against the Predators during the regular season.

 
”I feel like 2010 and 2015 we lost against these guys in the first round,” Rinne said. ”Now we’ve had a chance to redeem ourselves, a little payback.”

 
The Predators were billed as Stanley Cup contenders before the season after putting together arguably their most talented roster since the franchise launched in 1998-99. But they struggled through an inconsistent season that left them playing the mighty Blackhawks in the opening round.Now they are living up to their preseason billing – and have a veteran goaltender in peak form.

 
”Anytime we seemed to start to get things going, they found ways to stymie our momentum or our offense,” Toews said.

 
Game 4 was scoreless midway through the second period when Ryan Johansen won a faceoff against Marcus Kruger and passed to Ryan Ellis, who sent it to Josi on his right. Josi fired a slap shot from behind the right circle that got between Corey Crawford’s legs and sneaked into the left corner of the net at 9:41.Nashville extended the lead to 2-0 with a bizarre goal at 8:52 of the third. Sissons fired a shot that bounced off the cage and appeared to end up in the area of Crawford’s blocker before the puck came loose and rolled into the net. Less than 90 seconds later, Josi beat Crawford on a wrist shot.Crawford was exceptional for the first 29 1/2 minutes, but he didn’t get much help in the final part of the game. He finished with 22 stops.In an attempt to create a spark, the Blackhawks altered their lines, and star forward Patrick Kane played almost 24 minutes. They dressed seven defensemen – Michal Kempny made his playoff debut – and nothing worked.The Hawks avoided the shutout when Toews scored at 14:42 of the third for his first postseason goal since Game 4 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. Toews had been held without a goal for 12 straight postseason games.Arvidsson wrapped up the sweep with an empty-netter with 1:48 remaining.

 
”We are proud of ourselves,” Sissons said. ”That’s no easy thing to do, sweep the Blackhawks. They have championship-caliber talent over there. We did it in four, so we couldn’t be happier.”

 

NOTES—The Blackhawks also dropped their last four games in the regular season. … Predators forward Craig Smith was scratched after he got hurt in overtime of Game 3. … The Predators brought out more Nashville star power by having Luke Bryan sing the national anthem. John Hiatt performed on a stage behind one of the nets between the second and third periods. Carrie Underwood, who is married to Predators captain Mike Fisher, sang the anthem Monday. … The sellout crowd of 17,326 included Tennessee Titans coach Mike Mularkey and general manager Jon Robinson

BEARS 2017 REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE

SUN 9/10 FALCONS NOON FOX

Sun 9/17 @ Tampa Bay Noon FOX

SUN 9/24 STEELERS NOON CBS

Thu 9/28 @ Green Bay 7:25pm CBS/NFLN

MON 10/9 VIKINGS 7:30PM ESPN

Sun 10/15 @ Baltimore Noon* FOX

SUN 10/22 PANTHERS NOON* FOX

Sun 10/29 @ New Orleans Noon* FOX

Sun 11/5 Bye

SUN 11/12 PACKERS NOON* FOX

SUN 11/19 LIONS NOON* FOX

Sun 11/26 @ Philadelphia Noon* FOX

SUN 12/3 49ERS NOON* CBS

Sun 12/10 @ Cincinnati Noon* FOX

Sat 12/16 @ Detroit 3:30pm NFLN

SUN 12/24 BROWNS NOON CBS

Sun 12/31 @ Minnesota Noon* FOX

Bulls up two games to none after shocking Celtics again.

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BOSTON—The Bulls talked often during the regular season about believing they had the personnel to play as a physically imposing team.Their output has caught up to those desires so far during the postseason.Jimmy Butler scored 22 points, Rajon Rondo finished one rebound shy of a triple-double and the Bulls beat the Boston Celtics 111-97 on Tuesday night to take a 2-0 lead in their series against the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.While some might be shocked by how the Bulls have played as a No. 8 seed that was just 41-41, Butler made it clear he’s not one of those folks.

 
”I’m not surprised because everybody’s so locked in right now,” said Butler, who added eight rebounds and eight assists.

 
Rondo had 11 points and 14 assists on a night when all five Bulls starters reached double figures. Dwyane Wade had 22 points, including 16 in the second half, and Robin Lopez added 18 points and eight points.

 
”Everybody’s putting in each work, watching film, working on their game,” Butler said. ”That’s where your confidence always comes from.”
The Bulls host Game 3 on Friday.After a better start by the Celtics, a familiar theme started to take hold as the Bulls took control by again dominating on the offensive glass. The Bulls held a 43-38 rebounding edge for the game.Isaiah Thomas scored 20 points for Boston.Boston got within 91-82 early in the fourth before the Bulls went on a 14-4 run to push its lead up to 19.The Celtics did a much better job containing reserve Bobby Portis in Game 2 after he hurt them with 19 points off the bench in Game 1. But Paul Zipser picked up the slack in Game 2, scoring 16 points in 29 minutes.After getting thoroughly pushed around underneath in Game 1, the Celtics grabbed the first four rebounds of the night while scoring the game’s first seven points.That changed quickly, though, as the Bulls responded with a 20-4 run. Boston’s early rebounding edge evaporated just as fast, with all five Bulls starters grabbing an offensive rebound in the first six minutes of action.Boston shot 46 percent for game, but too many times was just one-and-done in the half court.The Bulls again used their big men to push the Celtics out of the paint and was quicker to the ball in a lot of 50-50 situations. The Bulls outscored the Celtics in the paint 32-20 for the half.
”I feel like in the second half, the ball stopped moving. It wasn’t moving at all,” Celtics guard Avery Bradley said. ”Even when we made a good play, got a steal, got an offensive rebound, we were just thinking quick 3s. As a polished team we have to know when to take those shots and when not to.”
Nikola Mirotic finished with 13 points and seven rebounds. … The Bulls held a 14-9 edge in fast-break points and 14-12 advantage on second-chance points. … Now hold a 22-rebound advantage through two games of the series…..Finished with 16 turnovers, leading to 23 Bulls points. …Thomas shot 7 of 13 from the free throw line. …. Scored 46 points in the first half of both Games 1 and 2. … Have failed to score 100 points in three of their last four postseason games dating back to last year.Wade said the Bulls’ performance so far in this series is a testament to how much they’ve grown.
”You play the 82 games to learn a little bit about yourself,” he said. ”One thing I learned about this team is through adverse situations, this team sticks together.”
Thomas did not speak to the media afterward and will now head to Tacoma, Washington to be with his family to finalize funeral arrangements for his sister, Chyna Thomas. But Bradley said while the team continues to grieve for him, it can’t be a distraction when they are on the court.
”We have to play hard no matter what,” Bradley said. ”You go through a lot throughout a season. You’re going to face a lot of adversity. The best teams overcome any type of adversity.”
Boston fell to just 14-4 in Game 2 at home following a loss in Game 1. The Bulls win also snapped the Celtics’ six-game winning streak in such games.The series shifts to the United Center on Friday night for Game 3.

This time Hawks blow 2-0 lead, lose to Predators 3-2 in OT, on verge of elimination

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NASHVILLE—The Nashville Predators are at a point they’ve never been before in franchise history, and now they have a chance to keep their first-round series from going back to the United Center.They can thank a 20-year-old playing the fourth postseason game of his career for putting them in that position.Kevin Fiala scored on a backhander 16:44 into overtime , and the 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.The Predators have never won the first three games of any playoff series, and they got here by outscoring the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed 9-2. Even with the Blackhawks finally ending their scoring drought in this series, it wasn’t enough as Filip Forsberg scored twice in the third period to force overtime.

”Obviously, we want to close it out at home, but we’ve got to focus just the same way we focused on this one and prepare the same,” Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne said.

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.Dennis Rasmussen and Patrick Kane each scored the first goals this series for the Blackhawks.But the Hawks, winners of three Stanley Cup titles in the past seven years, now trail 0-3 for the first time since the 2011 quarterfinals as a No. 8 seed. They lost that series in seven games to Vancouver.

”That was a long time ago,” Joel Quenneville said.Asked if this group can bounce back, Quenneville had a short answer: ”We’re going to have to.”

Jonathan Toews called it a very disappointing loss. His personal goal drought is now 12 straight postseason games, though he did have an assist.

”We got to find a way to put pressure on them, got to make them realize that winning a fourth game is the toughest for any team in any series,” Toews said.

Fiala finally converted on his third chance in overtime. Crawford got a glove on a puck nearly midway through the extra period off Fiala’s shot from the high slot. Crawford also got his left toe on a shot from Fiala in the slot with 6:00 left.Then James Neal found Fiala with a pass, and he beat Crawford to send fans home shortly after midnight local time.

”It was a great save by Crawford,” Fiala said of the toe save by the Hawk goalie. ”I was pretty angry, I could have finished it there, but never mind, we won.”

The Predators brought out the star power with country singer Carrie Underwood, married to Nashville captain Mike Fisher, to sing the national anthem. Five catfish also were tossed onto the ice before the puck dropped and combined with a late start for a very loud standing-room only crowd of 17,204.Nashville outshot the Blackhawks 49-36.Rinne’s shutout streak ended when Rasmussen scored the first postseason goal of his career 65 seconds into the second period. He beat Rinne glove-side off an assist from Marcus Kruger. The goal also snapped a scoreless skid for the Hawks that spanned 177:45 back to their first-round loss to St. Louis last postseason.Then the Blackhawks quickly made it a 2-0 lead with a power-play goal by Kane. He scored the 50th postseason goal of his career with a wrister from the right circle at 11:15 of the second, taking advantage of Marcus Kruger standing in front of Rinne.Forsberg started the rally. He scored on a wrister hitting the puck in the air past Crawford, who was caught having turned around in the crease, at 4:24. Blackhawks forward Richard Panik argued the puck went off the netting, but the play was called a good goal after a review.

”It went off the shoulder and then off the glass and then straight in, so I didn’t really see why they were talking,” Forsberg said.

Then Forsberg tied it up at 14:08 with a wrister off Ryan Ellis’ shot from the point. Officials also reviewed for Arvidsson interfering with Crawford outside the crease before ruling another good goal.

”I don’t know,” Crawford said when asked about interference. ”Game’s over.”

NOTES—This is Nashville’s third straight overtime win at home in the playoffs. The Predators won Games 4 and 6 versus San Jose in the second round last year. … Kane became the fourth Hawk player with 50 career goals, joining Bobby Hull, Denis Savard and Stan Mikita. This was Kane’s 126th playoff game.

Bulls surprise Celtics 106-102. Thomas scores 33 one day after losing 22 year old Sister in tragic Auto accident.

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BOSTON—Jimmy Butler had 30 points and nine rebounds and the Bulls outlasted Boston 106-102 in Game 1 on Sunday on an emotional night for grieving Celtics star Isaiah Thomas.Playing a day after 22-year-old sister Chyna Thomas was killed in a car accident in their home state of Washington, Thomas led the top-seeded Celtics with 33 points.Butler scored 23 points in the second half. Bobby Portis finished with 19 for the Bulls.Al Horford had 19 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for Boston.Game 2 in the first-round series is Tuesday night in Boston.Neither team had more than a two-possession lead until Butler made three free throws with 4 minutes to play make it 95-88. Butler scored 10 straight points to put the Bulls back in front early in the fourth, the first of three lead changes in the fourth quarter.Later, Thomas had a scary moment when he was hit on his left hand on a 3-point attempt before landing awkwardly on it. After a quick visit to the trainer, he calmly made all three free throws.It was part of a stretch in which he scored seven straight points.Celtics fans rallied behind Thomas, showering him with a deafening cheer when he was introduced.Still, Thomas appeared to be a little emotional at the start of the game, badly missing his first free throw short off the front rim. He wasn’t the only Boston player a little off their game in the first half.Boston’s second unit started the second quarter 1 for 7 from the field and was outscored 10-0 to surrender the Celtics’ first-quarter lead.The Bulls had their moments of fallibility as well.Late in the second quarter Wade intercepted an errant pass by Thomas, but got hung on the front of the rim as he attempted a dunk on the fast break.

NOTES—The Bulls outrebounded the Celtics 32-16 in the first half, including 16 offensive rebounds…..The Celtics were 18 for 45 from the field in the first half.

Hawks blanked again by Preds(this time 5-0)and now trail two games to none.

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Pekka Rinne was great again. Ryan Johansen had a big night, and Nashville got a lift from a couple of unlikely scorers.The Predators are singing a sweet tune on their way home to Music City, threatening to play the Blackhawks right out of the postseason.Rinne made 30 saves in his second straight shutout and picked up two assists, helping Nashville rout the Hawks 5-0 on Saturday for a 2-0 lead in their first-round series.

”Character win the first one, and then tonight played a really solid game,” Rinne said.

Johansen had a goal and two assists as Nashville added a dominant performance to its taut 1-0 victory in Game 1 on Thursday night.Ryan Ellis, Harry Zolnierczyk, Colton Sissons and Kevin Fiala each scored their first career playoff goal.The Predators became the fifth NHL team to begin a postseason with consecutive road shutouts, joining Detroit (1936), Buffalo (1983), New Jersey (1995) and Toronto (2001). Game 3 is Monday night in Nashville.

”A lot of guys played great hockey out there,” Ellis said. ”We got the result we wanted, but we’ve got a lot of work left to do and it doesn’t stop here.”

Joel Quenneville shuffled his lineup, inserting rookie Vinnie Hinostroza and Dennis Rasmussen and benching veteran Jordin Tootoo and John Hayden. But it was more of the same for the Blackhawks, who once again looked out of sync against the Predators’ active defense.

”That was frustration to a different level,” Quenneville said. ”That wasn’t fun to watch. I think you can look at it, we dug ourselves a tremendous hole across the board. Not too many positives come out of tonight’s game.”

The Hawks were shut out in consecutive playoff games for the first time since it was blanked in three straight in April 2002 against St. Louis. It has dropped six in a row dating to the end of the regular season.The sellout crowd of 22,175 booed as the final seconds of the second period ticked off, and there were more jeers in the third.

”It seems like right now we’re playing a little bit tight,” forward Marian Hossa said. ”Obviously everybody’s trying to score that goal. We have to play our way, the way we’ve played all season. We have to take a deep breath, throw this one in the garbage and focus on Game 3.”

The Blackhawks, who finished with a Western Conference-best 109 points this year, took the last four of their five meetings with the Predators during the regular season. They also controlled much of Game 1, outshooting the Predators 29-20, albeit with many of the attempts coming from outside.But this one was all Nashville, right from the start.

”Overall I thought it was a much better consistent effort tonight than it was in Game 1,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said.

After Richard Panik had a shot go off a post in the opening minute, the Predators began to take over. Ellis’ shot from the high slot was blocked by a sliding Panik, but the defenseman tried again and drove it by Corey Crawford for a 1-0 lead at 3:44.Viktor Arvidsson, who scored the only goal in Game 1, provided a perfect screen on the play, with Ellis’ shot going between his legs on the way to the net.The Predators added two more in the second.Rinne picked up a secondary assist when Mattias Ekholm found Zolnierczyk with a great stretch pass, and the forward shot it off Crawford’s left shoulder for a 2-0 lead at 2:51.The Blackhawks nearly got on the board about 30 seconds later, but captain Jonathan Toews shot it off the right post. Sissons then knocked in his own rebound with 7 minutes left.It was Sissons’ first point since he scored two goals against San Jose on March 25.

”It was good to get a balance,” Laviolette said. ”We’ve been trying to roll the lines and it was good to get a balance in scoring and get all the guys contributing.”

NOTES—Predators F Colin Wilson was scratched again with a lower-body injury…. The Blackhawks are 0 for 4 on the power play for the series. … Crawford finished with 24 saves. … The last time the Bulls dropped the first two games of a playoff series at home was in 1995 against Toronto. The Blackhawks won the series in seven games.

Preds stun Hawks 1-0 in Playoff opener.

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The Nashville Predators jumped in front of shots and got in the passing lanes for most of the night. On the precious few occasions that the Blackhawks found an open look, Pekka Rinne was there.Rinne made 29 saves, Viktor Arvidsson scored in the first period and the Predators beat the Blackhawks 1-0 on Thursday in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.The 34-year-old Rinne posted the franchise’s first road playoff shutout. It was Nashville’s second playoff win in the United Center in seven tries.

”It is a good confidence-booster for us,” Rinne said.

The Predators did not have a 1-0 victory during the regular season. Game 2 is Saturday night at the United Center.

”We’ve got to keep on it,” Nashville defenseman Ryan Ellis said. ”I think they played a great game over there. Peks was phenomenal for us. We defended hard, but I think we’re going to have to attack the game more and create more chances.”

Corey Crawford had 19 saves for the Blackhawks, who 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 opportunities against a sound defensive performance by Nashville.

”We’ve got to be more desperate, need more desperation around the net in that willingness to get there and fight through it and pay the price, whatever’s there,” coach Joel Quenneville said.

The Blackhawks, who won the Central Division 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.This time, they held on – thanks to a super performance by Rinne.The Hawks controlled much of the last two periods, but Nashville blocked several shots from the perimeter and stymied the Blackhawks when they tried to find a better chance. Rinne also stepped up at key moments in his second career playoff shutout.

”We did a really good job messing up their systems,” Rinne said, ”and didn’t give them too much flow. They like to play with a lot of speed and puck possession, and we did the right things on the ice.”

After Ryan Johansen was sent off for delay of game 9 seconds into the second, Rinne denied Patrick Kane and Trevor van Riemsdyk on the resulting power play. Ryan Hartman found Marian Hossa on a counter midway through the second, but he wasn’t able to get much on the shot and Rinne turned the rush away.The Predators killed off another power play in the third and then kept the Blackhawks away from the net after they pulled Crawford with 1:55 remaining.

”It looks like they’re kind of playing a 1-4 in the neutral zone, which is fine,” Kane said. ”We’re going to have to find ways to fight through that and more than likely, that comes with dumping the puck and hopefully getting pucks back, making them play in their end.We had some good shifts, had some good chances, didn’t really materialize the Grade-A we really wanted.”

Boosted by a raucous, red-clad crowd of 22,075, the Blackhawks got off to a fast start. But the Predators eventually started to control the action, and their high-scoring top line of Arvidsson, Johansen and Filip Forsberg silenced the fans with one nice sequence.Even with three Blackhawks in the area, Johansen managed to play the puck over to Forsberg in the high slot. Forsberg then threw it toward the net and Arvidsson tipped it by Crawford at 7:52.

”It was a great play by Filip and I just had my stick there and it was nice,” he said.

It was Arvidsson’s fourth goal in his last four games against the Blackhawks. The speedy winger set career highs with 31 goals and 30 assists in a breakout performance this season.Arvidsson nearly picked up a second goal in the first, but he was denied by Crawford on a prime opportunity with 4:22 left. He also had a backhander go off the crossbar with about 4 minutes in the third.

NOTES—Predators F Colin Wilson was scratched with an injury. Wilson had 12 goals and 23 assists this season. … The Blackhawks recalled G Jeff Glass from Rockford of the AHL. Glass was inactive as the team’s third goalie. … The Hawks were shut out in a home playoff game for the first time since 2012 against the Coyotes.