Hurricanes vs Predators playoff preview
Carolina No.1 Hurricanes vs Nashville No.4 Predators
Hurricanes: 36-12-8, 80 points
Predators: 31-23-2, 64 points
Season series: RAC 6-2-0; NSH 2-5-1
Game 1: Monday (8 p.m. ET; CNBC, SNE, TVAS)
The Hurricanes and Predators will meet for the first time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Carolina won the Discover Central Division, her Premier League title since 2006, when she finished first in the Southeast Division and won the Stanley Cup. And while the Hurricanes had a 13-game scoring streak at the end of the regular season (9-0-4; April 15-May 6), coach Rod Brind’Amour said they would use the time leading up to the series to work on their game.
“We have to pick up the pace,” he said. “We haven’t trained in a month, we haven’t had a real training where I can push guys, pick up the pace. For me the last two weeks you could see that. Once we stalled. (April 27), I could see that we had lowered the throttle a bit. So we have to come back to it. We will have time to do that, I hope we will start playing the way we have to again. “
The Predators reversed their season to finish fourth in the eight-team division and clinch their final playoff spot. They were 8-11-0 and tied for sixth place at the Centrale on February 26, but 23-12-2 the rest of the way, qualifying for the playoffs for a seventh straight season.
The Predators lost their first six games to the Hurricanes, but won the last two to end the regular season, edging them 8-1 after falling 23-9 in the top six.
“Goals are one thing, but I think our process was good,” Nashville forward Matt Duchene mentionned. “Everyone is determined to play hard. We’re a four-line team, we get four, and everyone is expected to play the same and have the same criteria. It’s an adjustment. for a lot of us, but a lot of guys are. making that commitment, and I think the last two games say a lot. “
Hurricanes: Sebastian aho led Carolina with 57 points (24 goals, 33 assists) in 56 games. The forward scored 18 power-play points (seven goals, 11 assists), tied for first over the Hurricanes with the forward Vincent Trocheck and defender Dougie Hamilton. Aho also tied Trocheck with seven Carolina power-play goals and led the Hurricanes with seven game-winning goals.
Video: CHI @ CAR: Aho scores 3 goals to win a hat trick
Predators: Filip Forsberg missed 17 games from March 27 to April 27 with an upper body injury, but is in good health. The forward has 32 points (12 goals, 20 assists) in 39 games and is a dynamic player who has scored 49 points (26 goals, 23 assists) in 65 playoff games.
Video: NSH @ CBJ: Forsberg finishes the rebound in front
Hurricanes: They have three reliable guardians: Petr Mrazek, Alex Nedeljkovic and James reimer. Mrazek, who missed 31 games after receiving right thumb surgery in February, went 6-2-3 with a 2.06 goals-against average, .923 save percentage and three shutouts in 12 departures. Nedeljkovic was 15-5-3 with a GAA of 1.90, save percentage of .932 and three shutouts in 23 starts. Reimer was 15-5-2 with a 2.66 GAA and .906 save percentage in 22 games (21 starts).
Predators: Juuse saros was one of the main reasons for their success in the second half of the season. He was 16-6-1 with a GAA of 1.90, save percentage of .941 and his three shutouts since March 18, when he returned after missing seven games due to a lower body injury. For the season, he posted a 21-11-1 record with a GAA of 2.28 and save percentage of .927 in 36 games (35 starts). Pekka rinne was 10-12-1 with a 2.84 GAA, .907 save percentage and two shutouts in 24 games (21 starts).
Figures to know
Hurricanes: The Carolina special teams have been strong this season, but especially against Nashville. The Hurricanes scored 34.6% on the power play and 88.9% on penalties against the Predators, beating their regular season numbers in each category (25.6% on the power play, 85.2% on penalties).
Predators: They have scored 151 goals this season, last among 16 teams that have qualified for the playoffs. Defender Romain Josi led Nashville with 33 points (eight goals, 25 assists) in 47 games, the fewest points for a team leading scorer in the playoffs.
Hurricanes: Free agent signed Carolina Jesper fast to a three-year contract Oct. 11 for his speed and pain. The right wing, playing on the third row with the left wing Warren Foegele and Jordan staal, scored 19 points (six goals, 13 assists) in 46 games, played on both special teams and scored a career-high four points on the power play (one goal, three assists). He had a power play assist in his previous seven seasons.
Video: CAR @ CHI: Quick funerals bounce back when falling on ice
Predators: Eeli Tolvanen got his biggest opportunity with Nashville this season, and the rookie forward scored 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) in 40 games and was third for the Predators with 12 power play points (six goals, six assists) behind Josi (14) and Forsberg (13). The 22-year-old secured a front row spot on the right wing with Forsberg and center Ryan johansen.
Video: NSH @ CHI: Tolvanen grabs Arvidsson’s big pass
They said it
“There are a lot of difficult things in [winning the Stanley Cup]. It’s been a grueling two months and you have to be lucky, stay away from injuries, be your best every night, and I think you have to have a belief that you can do it. We have all of these things. It’s just a matter of putting it all together. It can happen this year and it’s worth aiming for. I think we have the group to do it. ” – Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal, who won the Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009
“It’s been a lot of hard work on the part of a lot of people. In the regular season, you do not participate in the Stanley Cup. You compete for a chance to make the playoffs, and then you compete for the Stanley Cup. I think we have won our way to the situation we find ourselves in, but now is not the time for satisfaction. It’s important to stay on the gas here. You are entering the second season, and that’s what our focus is on. ” – Predators coach John Hynes
Will win if …
Hurricanes: They stick with what has worked for them all season. They are effective at putting pressure on opponents, forcing reversals and turning them into an offense. Carolina is also getting production throughout its forward lines, which will be needed against Saros.
Predators: Saros stays warm. They don’t score a lot, so the Predators will need him and their defense to be on top of their game.
What they look like
Planned hurricane schedule
Andrei Svechnikov – Sébastien Aho – Teuvo Teravainen
Nino Niederreiter – Vincent Trocheck – Martin Necas
Warren Foegele – Jordan Staal – Jesper Fast
Jordan martinook – Steven lorentz – Morgan geekie
Jaccob slavin – Dougie Hamilton
Brady Skjei – Brett Pesce
Jake bean – Jani Hakanpaa
Striped: Jake gardiner, James Reimer, Joakim ryan, Drew shore, Max McCormick
Injuries: Brock McGinn (upper body), Cedric Paquette (lower body)
Anticipated predator programming
Filip Forsberg – Ryan Johansen – Eeli Tolvanen
Calle Jarnkrok – Mikael granlund – Luke Kunin
Nick cousins – Erik Haula – Matt Duchene
Yakov Trenin – Colton Sissons – Tanner Jeannot
Romain Josi – Ryan ellis
Mattias Ekholm – Alexandre carrier
Ben harpur – Dante Fabbro
Striped: Matt Benning, Erik Gudbranson, Brad richardson, Michael mccarron, Jeremy davies
Injured: Luca Sbisa (lower body), Mark Borowiecki (upper body), Mathieu Olivier (lower body), Viktor arvidsson (not disclosed)