Make it Ugly, Force Avs to play your style
The Nashville Predators are who they are, like it or not. You can’t ask them to chance this late in the season heading into the playoffs. They have to ride and die with their hard-hitting, physical style that unfortunately leads to a lot of penalties.
They can absoluely try to limit the inexcusable lazy penalties like leaving your stick out too long because you got beat to a loose puck for a tripping penalty. But penalties are going to happen, and maybe the refs will swallow the whistle since it’s the playoffs.
Either way, the Predators need to turn this into a slugfest defensively. Figure out a way to slow down the Avalanche rush and obviously limit the shots on goal. Even more so, limit the odd-man rushes that’s going to burn Rittich, or whoever is in net for that matter.
The Predators have shown glimpses of being able to play impressive defensive games. They did that recently against Calgary in a shootout win, and they did it against other teams like Minnesota, Pittsburgh and San Jose in April.
I’m really hoping that Jeremy Lauzon can get back into the starting lineup. He hasn’t appeared in a game since April 16 with a leg injury, but there’s a decent chance he can be ready for Game 1. This team badly needs his defensive skillset for this series, and his penalty killing.
The Predators are going to have to do an extraordinary job at getting into shot lanes and blocking shots. That can go a long way into protecting their goaltender, something even the Arizona Coyotes exposed the Predators with in the season finale.