Keys to Watch
For the first time in franchise history, the Nashville Predators were the best team in the National Hockey League during the regular season with a record of of 53-18-11 and 117 points. After winning their first division title, first regular season conference title, and the first President’s Trophy in the franchise’s history, their expectations are much higher than previous years. The expectations are not to just win the first round, the expectation for this year’s team is to make it back to the Stanley Cup Final. The team must take the series one game at a time, one period at a time, one shift at a time. The expectations are to make it back to the Stanley Cup Final and it begins tonight for Game One in front of a raucous crowd in Smashville against the Colorado Avalanche.
Slowing the First Line
The Colorado Avalanche have one of the best first lines in hockey. Led by Nathan MacKinnon, who led the Avalanche with 39 goals and 97 points on the season, the Avalanche are an offensively-talented group that can score at a moment’s notice. It will be of the upmost to slow down this first line and not give them the opportunities in space that they need to score. A suffocating defensive corps led by captain, Roman Josi, will need to play a physical brand of hockey to keep this line in check.
If the Nashville Predators go as far in the playoffs this year as last, they will have to ride Pekka Rinne to the end. Rinne has been an exceptional goaltender this year, with the possibility of winning the Vezina Trophy this summer. After appearing in 59 contests this season, Rinne had a record of 42-13-4, 2.31 goals-against average, and .927 save percentage. Pekka Rinne deserves all of the accolades he receives from his outstanding season. More importantly, the Nashville Predators need him to put this team on his back to make it back to the Final.
The Nashville Predators are looking to make it back to the Stanley Cup Final for the second straight year. It all starts tonight. Game One at Bridgestone Arena will be absolutely rocking! Be sure to catch all of the action on NBCSN or Fox Sports-Tennessee or you can listen live on 102.5 The Game.