In a complete 180 from last year, the Predators are favored and picked to win the Stanley Cup by most media outlets. Just last year, the Predators were the NHL Playoff’s 16 seed and were picked to lose in devastating fashion to last year’s favorites the Chicago Blackhawks. We all know the story and the amazing run the Predator’s went on from there but the question remains: “How will the Predators respond to being the hunted instead of the hunter.”
The Predators have a load of expectations and pressure on them entering the postseason as the President’s Trophy winner and the top seed in the playoffs. The Predators first matchup is the Colorado Avalanche.
The Avalanche are polar opposites from the Predators. It took Colorado all of the 82 game season to clinch a playoff berth as it all came down to a winner take all matchup against the St. Louis Blues. Entering the season, the Avalanche were not expected to even be mentioned in the playoff race, let alone actually get in. Early in the season, they even traded away Matt Duchene in a move that looked to be a sign that the team was still in rebuilding mode. They have surpassed all expectations this year and in a normal season, if not for the success of the Vegas Golden Knights, head coach Jared Bednar would be a lock for the coach of the year.
The Avalanche have absolutely nothing to lose in this playoff series and are looking to play spoiler against the top seeded Predators. The Predators have more depth, better defense, better scoring, and more experience than the Avalanche, but there is something to be said about having a puncher’s chance.
Below are OffthePipe staff’s predictions for this first round match up
Nate Harber – Predators in 5
Taylor Parks – Predators in 6
Ed Neely – Predators in 5
Jackson Walsh -Predators in 5
And our tiebreaker is the total number of penalty minutes the Predators take in Round 1.
Nate Harber – 70
Taylor Parks – 68
Ed Neely – 56
Jackson Walsh – 65
This will be a fun series Predators fans, but I caution you. EXPECT A DOG FIGHT.