Nashville Predators: Bold Predictions for the First Round against Hurricanes

Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm (14) attempts a wrap around on Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic (39) during the first period at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm (14) attempts a wrap around on Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic (39) during the first period at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /
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Nashville Predators
Nashville Predators players celebrate. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

Who advances and in how many games?

I have to pick with my brain here and not my heart. My heart says this Nashville Predators team has the will and determination to surprise a lot of people and get the upset. But my brain says there’s just too many deficiencies to overcome.

The Hurricanes check all the boxes when it comes to their all-around play. They’ve got solid goaltending with Petr Mrazek and Alex Nedeljkovic. I’m interested to see who they start in Game 1, but I’m planning on it to be Mrazek.

To add onto dependable goaltending, the Hurricanes are one of the NHL’s best in terms of both power play (No.2) and penalty kill (No.3). We won’t get into where the Predators ranks, but let’s just say they’re hanging down at the bottom and have a worse penalty kill than teams like Buffalo and Detroit.

Finally, the Hurricanes have the star power. Sebastian Aho is one of their top players and leads the team in points in the regular season with 57. Not to be outdone is Vincent Trocheck, Andrei Svechnikov, Dougie Hamilton and Jordan Staal.

The Hurricanes are just insanely deep with offensive playmakers with seven players having more than 30 points on the season. The Predators have just two; Roman Josi and Filip Forsberg.

I’m definitely not calling for a blowout or a lopsided series by any means, but I’m going with Carolina in six with the predication that the Predators actually play a very strong series and just get outmatched by the speed and offensive weapons.

Perhaps the Predators bottled up the success they had over the Canes in the Saturday night game that clinched the playoffs for them, but it’s still just one game. I can’t count the season finale with too much weight considering both teams were resting several key players.

Related Story. Key Factors to Predators Upsetting Canes in 1st Round. light

If the Predators can steal a game, preferably Game 1, then that will really change my outlook on their chances. However, I have the Predators coming home down 2-0 in the series only to have a huge response in front of their home crowd to make it a competitive series.

Prediction: Canes in 6