If someone had said that the Nashville Predators were going to be in the Western Conference Finals at any point during the season, they would have been ridiculed. Few people with any real hockey sense would have believed it. Yet, there are now four teams remaining in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the Predators are just two wins away from going to their first Stanley Cup Final.
The amount of hockey pools destroyed in the first round when they knocked off the heavily favored Chicago Blackhawks must have been astronomical. And then to turn around and beat a heavily stacked St Louis Blues lineup, the dream started to become a reality.
The Nashville Predators Challenge History
Yet when one looks deeper at this team, the secrets of the success are evident. Head coach Peter Laviolette has his players firing on all cylinders. The line-up is extremely well-balanced. They play a tenacious, hard-checking, in your face type of game. The Predators leave their opponents frustrated most nights. They give opponents zero chance to breathe.
The number one forward line includes Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen, and Viktor Arvidsson. Rearguards include a big four of Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, Mattias Ekholm and P.K. Subban. These four have blossomed into the best defensive group in the league. One also can not forget about Pekka Rinne. He has been rock solid. His stellar 1.58 goals against average has his team playing confidently in front of him.
Can they continue their fairy tell run and beat an experienced Anaheim Ducks group? Only time will tell. If they do end up in the Cup final and win they will be only the second team in the modern era being an 8th seed to accomplish the feat. The only other team to do it is the 2012 Los Angeles Kings.
Game 5 of the Series goes on Saturday Night.
Main Photo: NASHVILLE, TN – APRIL 17: Filip Forsberg #9 of the Nashville Predators is congratulated by teammates after scoring the game-tying goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during the third period in Game Three of the Western Conference First Round during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena on April 17, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)