Key Matchup-

Ryan Getzlaf and Shea Weber will face each other in this matchup. The two played together on Team Canada’s 2016 World Cup team. Weber may be considered an elite defenseman, but he is one of the league’s worst shot suppressors. He can produce offensively though. Getzlaf has well deserved elite status, and plays a solid game and when he is put on the same line as Corey Perry he is hard to stop.

Nashville Predators-

Winning Formula: 

One of the Predators greatest assets is the depth of its blueline. Together Shea Weber and Roman Josi are fantastic and Mattias Ekholm and Ryan Ellis have continued to excel over the last season. Filip Forsberg has made a name for himself as the team’s sniper and is likely to continue to produce. Nashville is one of the league’s top possession teams and Mike Fisher to James Neal have a lot to do with that as they play a gritty offensive game.

How to Lose the Series in 7 Games or Less:  

Pekka Rinne has not been playing his strongest game posting one of the worst save percentages than any other goalie in the league holding a starting position. Rinne improved after the second half of the season, but still is not at the top of his game.

The first line as a whole doesn’t produce enough offense for the Predators and the team leans too heavily on young less experienced players like Austin Watson, Colton Sissons, Viktor Arvidsson, and Miikka Salomaki.

Anaheim Ducks –

Winning Formula:

Ryan Kesler adds experience, skill, and an advantage in the faceoff circle, and will be an asset during this playoff run especially if they progress to later series. When Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry are put on the same line they are a dynamic duo and can easily manipulate play and produce offense. The Ducks have one of the most productive power plays in the league and some credit is due to the pair. David Perron and Rickard Rakell have played their part on the team adding offense and distracting opposing teams from Perry and Getzlaf. The Ducks play a heavy game and have a mobile blueline full of playmakers such as Sami Vatanen, Cam Fowler, and Hampus Lindholm.

How to Lose the Series in 7 Games or Less: 

Anaheim had a terrible start to the season, but fought their way to the playoffs. They are hoping that other players will distract from Getzlaf and Perry to allow them to be effective. In the past playoffs opposing teams have tried to neutralize the duo early on and it has been a strategy that has had an effect on knocking the team out. John Gibson and Frederik Andersen will need to minimize mistakes and step up to keep the Ducks alive.

Prediction: Ducks in 6

Follow us on Twitter @TristinHuntamer and @BandBHockey

 

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Head-to-Head Season Stats
Stats
Predators
Blackhawks
Record

1-1-2

3-1-0

Goals

9

11

Shot Attempts

179

182

 

Season Stats
 
Predators
Blackhawks
Rank
Stats
Rank
Stats
Shot Attempts For/60

2

58.1 4

58.0

Shot Attempts Against/60

14

51.4 7

49.9

Shot Attempt %

8

53.1 4

53.7

Goals For/60

5

2.51 17

2.25

Goals Against/60

4

1.91 6

1.93

Goal %

1

56.9 8

53.8

Shooting %

8

8.1 28

6.8

Save %

4

93.1 2

93.5

Powerplay

25

16.2 20

17.6

Penalty Kill

18

80.8 10

83.4

 

Key Matchup-

Duncan Keith vs. Shea Weber: Two of Canada’s best defensemen are going head-to-head and they are evenly matched. Since Ryan Suter left Nashville, Weber’s numbers haven’t been as good as they were; though he still looks good on the ice. Weber has a higher relative goal rate meaning he may have some effect on the quality of chances, but Nashville generally controls the puck more when Weber is on the bench. He also allows almost six more shot attempts than Keith per hour.

Nashville Predators-

Winning Formula: Peter Laviolette transformed Nashville from a counterstrike team into an attacking team. The result was the Predators best goal production in four years. Rookie Filip Forsberg has the makings of a future superstar. Their offense is a team effort and doesn’t rely on one player to get things done. This new style of play has made Nashville a better possession team, giving them more opportunities, and keeping the other team from scoring chances. Goalie Pekka Rinne bounced back from his 2013-14 hip problems and has had a great year. Rinne’s 6’5” size, agility; unreal glove hand, puck handling abilities, skill at controlling the rebound, demeanor, and general ability to intimidate a shooter all plays a part in why he is phenomenal when he is healthy.

How to Lose the Series in 7 Games or Less:  Nashville’s first line is evolving and provides something closer to second-line production, especially factoring in how much they’ve regressed in the second half of the season. Forsberg and Mike Ribeiro averaged about a point per game in the first half of the season, but have since cooled. James Neal, although a skilled power forward, isn’t producing the way he used to for the Penguins. Their blueline is amazing, but the team relies on them to score too much and it takes away from what they are there to do. Rinne has been dealing with knee problems the past couple months, and he hasn’t shouldered a playoff workload since 2012. His second half numbers, while good, have slipped in the second half of the season.

Chicago Blackhawks-

Winning Formula: If experience counts then this team is golden as the majority of their 2013 Stanley Cup roster is intact. They have resolve and thrive under pressure. They are strong defensively. Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook push play toward the other team’s net. Chicago has tremendous depth and scores consistently at even strength, and this team hits hard.

How to Lose the Series in 7 Games or Less:  Patrick Kane is expected to return for the first round a few weeks earlier than expected. He was out with a broken collarbone. If he is fully healed and not feeling the effects of his injury he will be a great asset to the Blackhawks as he is elite on all levels offensively. The power play has suffered in his absence too. Toews has been heavily leaned on to score and even with Kane set to return, there is no telling if he is healthy enough to help the team. Thoughout the season, goaltender Corey Crawford only had to be good, not great. He will have to be great to win in the playoffs.

Follow me @TristinHuntamer

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EASTERN CONFERENCE FIRST-ROUND MATCHUPS
SERIES A – A1 vs. W1 TIME (ET) Ottawa-Montreal NETWORKS
Wednesday, April 15 7 p.m. Ottawa at Montreal CBC, TVA Sports, NHL Network
Friday, April 17  7 p.m. Ottawa at Montreal CBC, TVA Sports, CNBC
Sunday, April 19 7 p.m. Montreal at Ottawa CBC, TVA Sports, NBCSN
Wednesday, April 22 7 p.m. Montreal at Ottawa CBC, TVA Sports, USA
*Friday, April 24  TBD Ottawa at Montreal CBC
*Sunday, April 26  TBD Montreal at Ottawa CBC
*Tuesday, April 28  TBD Ottawa at Montreal CBC
SERIES B – A2 vs. A3 TIME (ET) Detroit-Tampa Bay NETWORKS
Thursday, April 16 7:30 p.m. Detroit at Tampa Bay CNBC, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Saturday, April 18 3 p.m. Detroit at Tampa Bay NBC, CBC, TVA Sports
Tuesday, April 21 7 p.m. Tampa Bay at Detroit NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Thursday, April 23 7 p.m. Tampa Bay at Detroit NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
*Saturday, April 25 TBD Detroit at Tampa Bay TBD
*Monday, April 27 TBD Tampa Bay at Detroit TBD
*Wednesday, April 29 TBD Detroit at Tampa Bay TBD
SERIES C – M1 vs. W2 TIME (ET) Pittsburgh-NY Rangers NETWORKS
Thursday, April 16 7 p.m. Pittsburgh at NY Rangers NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
Saturday, April 18 8 p.m. Pittsburgh at NY Rangers NBC, CBC, TVA Sports
Monday, April 20 7 p.m. NY Rangers at Pittsburgh NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
Wednesday, April 22 7 p.m. NY Rangers at Pittsburgh NBCSN, SN 360, TVA Sports
*Friday, April 24 TBD Pittsburgh at NY Rangers TBD
*Sunday, April 26 TBD NY Rangers at Pittsburgh TBD
*Tuesday, April 28 TBD Pittsburgh at NY Rangers TBD
SERIES D – M2 vs. M3 TIME (ET) NY Islanders- Washington NETWORKS
Wednesday, April 15 7 p.m. NY Islanders at Washington USA, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Friday, April 17 7 p.m. NY Islanders at Washington NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Sunday, April 19 Noon Washington at NY Islanders NBC, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Tuesday, April 21 7:30 p.m. Washington at NY Islanders USA, SN 360, TVA Sports
*Thursday, April 23 TBD NY Islanders at Washington TBD
*Saturday, April 25 TBD Washington at NY Islanders TBD
*Monday, April 27 TBD NY Islanders at Washington TBD
WESTERN CONFERENCE FIRST-ROUND MATCHUPS
SERIES E – C1 vs. W1 TIME (ET) Minnesota-St. Louis NETWORKS
Thursday, April 16 9:30 p.m. Minnesota at St. Louis NBCSN, SN 360, TVA Sports
Saturday, April 18 3 p.m. Minnesota at St. Louis NBC, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Monday, April 20 8 p.m. St. Louis at Minnesota CNBC, SN1, TVA Sports
Wednesday, April 22 9:30 p.m. St. Louis at Minnesota NBCSN, SN 360, TVA Sports
*Friday, April 24 TBD Minnesota at St. Louis TBD
*Sunday, April 26 TBD St. Louis at Minnesota TBD
*Wednesday, April 29 TBD Minnesota at St. Louis TBD
SERIES F – C2 vs. C3 TIME (ET) Chicago-Nashville NETWORKS
Wednesday, April 15 8:30 p.m. Chicago at Nashville NBCSN, SN 360, TVA Sports
Friday, April 17 9:30 p.m. Chicago at Nashville NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Sunday, April 19 3 p.m. Nashville at Chicago NBC, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Tuesday, April 21 9:30 p.m. Nashville at Chicago NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
*Thursday, April 23 TBD Chicago at Nashville TBD
*Saturday, April 25 TBD Nashville at Chicago TBD
*Monday, April 27 TBD Chicago at Nashville TBD
SERIES G – P1 vs. W2 TIME (ET) Winnipeg-Anaheim NETWORKS
Thursday, April 16 10:30 p.m. Winnipeg at Anaheim CNBC, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Saturday, April 18 10:30 p.m. Winnipeg at Anaheim NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Monday, April 20 9 p.m. Anaheim at Winnipeg Sportsnet, TVA Sports, NBCSN
Wednesday, April 22 9:30 p.m. Anaheim at Winnipeg Sportsnet, TVA Sports, USA
*Friday, April 24 TBD Winnipeg at Anaheim Sportsnet
*Sunday, April 26 TBD Anaheim at Winnipeg Sportsnet
*Tuesday, April 28 TBD Winnipeg at Anaheim Sportsnet
SERIES H – P2 vs. P3 TIME (ET) Calgary-Vancouver NETWORKS
Wednesday, April 15 10 p.m. Calgary at Vancouver CBC, TVA Sports, USA
Friday, April 17 10 p.m. Calgary at Vancouver CBC, TVA Sports, CNBC
Sunday, April 19 10 p.m. Vancouver at Calgary CBC, TVA Sports, NBCSN
Tuesday, April 21 10 p.m. Vancouver at Calgary CBC, TVA Sports, USA
*Thursday, April 23 TBD Calgary at Vancouver CBC
*Saturday, April 25 TBD Vancouver at Calgary CBC
*Monday, April 27 TBD Calgary at Vancouver CBC

* – if necessary TBD – To be determined (JIP) – joined in progress

newsletter_us

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NASHVILLE, Tenn – The Jets continued their five-game road trip with a stop in Music City for a showdown with the Central Division leading Nashville Predators and a chance to tie the Preds for first place in the division. This was a tight checking affair where one mistake was the key as the Predators came away with a 2-1 victory.

“I was happy to see the way we came out and played defensively, and we kept pushing,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said after earning his 400th NHL victory. “Even when the game is tied late, you still want to keep throwing attempts at the net and throwing shots at the net, and it was great that Craig was able to capitalize.”

With not a lot of shots in this game, goalies had to be sharp and as the game went on a few good chances were created and Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne was sharp although not too busy he stopped 22 to get the victory.

“There weren’t a lot of attempts at either net,” Laviolette said. “There was no room through the neutral zone either way, and we knew what type of hockey they were playing just based on their record and watching them in pre-scout, having played them recently.”

Winnipeg Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec was sharp as well but couldn’t track the puck on the winner and probably wants the first goal back but through all this he still stopped 27 Nashville shots and gave his team a chance at getting the win.

The first twenty minutes of this game there were a lot of whistles and both teams were just keen on getting the puck out of their own ends even if it meant icing the puck as there wasn’t much flow or chances. Both teams are low scoring good defensive clubs this year so this was expected.

Chances came but they were far and few between as this was a neutral zone battle with not a lot of end-to-end play but a lot of dump and guard your zone. The teams did open it up on occasion as the Jets had a few great looks at the net including Evander Kane who continues to be snakebit as he rang a glorious chance off the bar.

It came down to who would make the first mistake. The Predators had a goal disallowed after it was ruled the puck was knocked down with a high stick of James Neal before Mike Riberio put it in the net.

“We knew what we were getting into tonight,” Neal said. “In the neutral zone, there wasn’t much room and we were trying to put pucks behind them and get there, but with hold-ups and not-good-enough dumps, we were finding it tough. I think that was both ways. We’re going to find ourselves in those games throughout the year. I like the way we responded in the third and came out and did a job.”

Winnipeg got its lone goal on a turnover on a Predators power play by Matt Cullen and Blake Wheeler broke in and snapped a bullet top corner for his 8th of the season.

Nashville got goals from James Neal who ripped a bomb past Pavelec for his 9th and later Craig Smith snapped home a loose puck for the winner his 6th of the season.

“It was a tight game, just like we thought it would be,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said. “It was the game we expected. Tough to give them a goal late. We’ve been really solid and really strong there. I thought in the third period we were better in a lot of areas and had some good chances there, but there just weren’t a whole lot to go around in that game.”

The Jets will look back at this one as one that got away as they had chances to clear the puck out on the winner and also they didn’t get one power play chance in this game which is rare in today’s game.

Winnipeg will head to Minnesota to play the Wild on Sunday in another big divisional game.

Follow me on Twitter @hrank94