Jets take home-ice advantage
Hard pill to swallow losing home-ice advantage in Game 1. That’s especially true considering how hard the Predators worked over the regular season to obtain the Presidents’ Trophy. This game set the tone that the Jets are as good as advertised. Most notably Connor Hellebuyck. Anyone who didn’t understand why he’s a Vezina Trophy finalist, understood after this game.
The biggest takeaway from Game 1 is the Predators must play their best brand of hockey. Additionally, Pekka Rinne is going to have to match Hellebuyck’s performance. He hasn’t done that every game, and it’s allowed the Jets to flat out look like the superior team at times.
Hellebuyck records 47 saves to open up the series. You tip your cap when this happens. The Predators actually had plenty of chances, and Hellebuyck was just better. A goaltender that’s locked in like that can neutralize any great offensive team. Without that mammoth performance from Hellebuyck, maybe the Predators aren’t in this situation. Maybe they’re preparing for Vegas. Now they have a major task at hand that might end their hopes of return to the Stanley Cup Final prematurely.
Final score ends up being 4-1, although the Predators dominate the faceoff circle and stay out of the penalty box. It was two positives to take from falling behind 1-0.