So, needless to say, they’re favored. A lot. Look at ESPN’s hockey analysts’ predictions (moment of silence) shows that the smart money is on the Predators:
You want momentum? There you go. Pick the team that held the Blackhawks’ scorers off of the scoresheet for four games, not the team who got statistically outworked yet still managed to win a series in five.
Hot goalies? You got ‘em. Pekka Rinne and Jake Allen have the best stats in the playoffs. Allen’s GAA is 1.47, inflated by game five. Rinne’s GAA? 0.70. That’s literally half of Allen’s. Rinne’s save percentage is .976; Allen’s is .956. Rinne capped off his stellar performance with back to back shutouts in the first two games of round one.
Basically, don’t expect high scoring games.
The Predators and Blues have played just one game against each other under the current coaching regimes, which is an absurdly small sample size. The Blues won that game 4-1 (while getting outshot 36-25) with goals from Tarasenko, Steen, Perron, and Joel Edmundson. The Preds did not have Rinne in net that night; backup Jusse Saros was starting.
So, basically, this series is a crapshoot.
Expect the Predators to clamp down on Vladimir Tarasenko exactly like the Wild did, and expect the Blues to try to slow down the Preds’ top line of Ryan Johansen, Viktor Arvidsson and noted Blues-killer Filip Forsberg.
Jaden Schwartz - Paul Stastny - Vladimir Tarasenko
Alexander Steen - Patrik Berglund - David Perron
Vladimir Sobotka - Jori Lehtera - Magnus Paajarvi
Scottie Upshall - Kyle Brodziak - Ryan Reaves
Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo
Joel Edmundson - Colton Parayko
Carl Gunnarsson - Robert Bortuzzo