Keys to Watch
Regular Season Success
Upon the beginning of any post-season matchup, the analyzing of the regular season match-up comes to play. Typically, success in the regular season pushes over to the post-season. Of course, not in every situation, but statistically those games give an insight to how the series could go during the playoffs. The results for the two team’s games this season are as follows: 10/28 NSH 2-SJS 1, 2/6 NSH 6, SJS 2, 4/2 NSH 1, SJS 2. With five out of six points going to the Preds this season, and if regular season success is any indication to post-season success, the probability of the Preds performing well is high. But, we all know that the post-season is different. Only time will tell how the Predators will do in the second round.
Scouting the Enemy
Going into round two, the Nashville Predators will have to refocus their effort to another California team. Round one ended relatively quick for the Sharks as they disposed of the Los Angeles Kings in five games. One contributing factor of the the Sharks’ win in round one was the play of Joe Pavelski. The Sharks captain netted five goals during the first round including the first goal of the series for the Sharks against the Kings. Another big reason for their success in round one was the play of Martin Jones. He had a stellar series in net only allowing 11 goals in the five game series (2.18 GAA). The Predators will have to refocus their efforts on the Sharks, whom Nashville has not typically fared well against in the post-season.
A Recurring Theme
A look back from game six and seven of the series with Anaheim showed the style of play that best suits the Preds: strong forecheck, timely scoring, and Rinne. The most important aspect of this team, in its hopes to moving forward, is the play of Pekka Rinne. When he plays well, the Nashville Predators can defeat any team in the NHL. When he is off, the level of play of this team is noticeably lower. Starting this series off on the right foot is key and the Preds need Rinne to play like he did in game seven, specifically. If he plays with that same style, the chances for the Preds to take game one increases in a hostile environment against the Sharks. Rinne has traditionally played well against the Sharks with a 10-5-4 record, .945 save percentage, and 1.80 goals-against average.
The SAP Center will be raucous tonight as the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs begin when the Preds take on the Sharks. Be sure to catch all of the action on NBCSN or you can listen live on 102.5 The Game. Stay up late with the Preds as the puck will drop at 9:30 pm!