WESTERN CONFERENCE PREVIEW
NASHVILLE VS. ST. LOUIS
The Nashville Predators sweeping the Chicago Blackhawks,is probably the most unexpected upset since the Cubs World Series win. Nashville perhaps the only team entering the 2nd round of the playoffs,while facing-off against a team that will be a significant down-grade, compared to the superstar ridden Chicago Blackhawks.
But what happened? Did Nashville get lucky? or has something significant changed?If you’re the St. Louis Blues, you’ve got to be worried, yet, there remains a hope that the Predators will collapse and return to their former-selves.
One man, the Predators can definitely look to, is net-minder Pekka Rinne. Who recorded to 2 shut-outs, only allowing 3 goals total. While Ryan Ellis lead the charge on a formidable defence including, Mattias Ekholm, Roman Josi and newly acquired star P.K. Subban. Who were able to push the star-studded Chicago offence outside of any quality scoring zones.
In saying that, the star in the Blues/Wild series was goalie Jake Allen, as the Blues nearly swept the Minnesota Wild. The Wild showed that they can stay neck-and-neck with the Blackhawks throughout the season. So the Blues over-taking the Wild in 5-games shouldn't go unnoticed.
These teams may might as well be playing a mirror image of each other. With the 11th and 12th ranked offences, top-heavy defences, this may just turn into a goalie V. goalie showdown.
With who will slip-up first, often going to decide the outcome of each game.
If Nashville, looks to win, they will need to continue riding this new found momentum. Not let the nay-sayers get in their heads. The Preds. are undoubtedly the team with the most pressure on them to keep up the heat. Any sign of failure or even their first loss, could result in an utter mental collapse. The Predators will most definitely need to keep goalie Jake Allen at bay, with his .97 save percentage. If they want any chance at making a solid run at the cup.
St. Louis in similar fashion will have to use this emotional style of play to their advantage. Their main offensive weapon Vladimir Tarasenko who scored 20 more goals than the next player on the team during the regular season. Will need to rally Shwartz, Steen and the rest of any offensive power that they can muster. To dismantle, the Predators quickly. If they can score out of the gate and steal this Predator momentum early, this series may end up in their favour. If not, then the Predators will continue to dominate.