Goaltending wins championships. Both teams have championship worthy goaltenders this season. The difference will come from the rosters between the masked men in this matchup. The two teams are quite similar. Both are built from the back out with the blueline and net minders making up the highest profile players. No one should expect this series to end early.
The Coyotes find themselves in highly unfamiliar territory. Not just in the second round for the first time since the franchise made tracks out of the great white north. But they are hosting a playoff series for the second time. While doubting the nerve of Doan is probably not the smartest bet, you have to wonder if the pressure will begin telling on young gun Oliver Ekman-Larsson, or if Mike Smith’s phenomenal run will come to an end.
The Nashville Predators revamped their lineup and altered their team chemistry hugely around the deadline. They brought back a KHL escape artist, a well traveled defensive guru, and the brother of a player. They had a stumble or two, but managed to finish off the shaky road warrior Red Wings. The Predators hope Gabriel Bourque can continue making hunting down goals, but will need Erat and Fisher to not merely step onto the ice but take it.
The Predators have a bit more depth, but the two teams finished very close in goal differential on the season with the Coyotes getting the nod although both special teams categories belong to the Predators. Fun series in the offing.