As the Stanley Cup Playoffs kick-off, we bring you a playoff preview of the Carolina Hurricanes vs Nashville Predators. These two teams have played against each other six times this season, with Carolina winning four of the six meetings. The two teams have also faced off against each other twice this month, which saw the Predators take both wins, including having shut out the Hurricanes in a final 5-0 victory.
With all this considered, unless the Hurricanes have a change in their game plan, it seems like Nashville may have found a way to handle the Hurricanes’ offense. However, it is important to acknowledge that in the final game of the season, the Hurricanes did not play star players Andrei Svechnikov, Jordan Staal, Jacob Slavin, or new breakout star goalie Alex Nedeljkovic.
This could have been so that these players would be well-rested, and recovered, in time for the playoff series to begin, or in order to preserve any new strategy that is being comprised and the Carolina Hurricanes will give the Nashville Predators a sense of false security as they enter the series with two wins.
Playoff Preview: Carolina Hurricanes vs Nashville Predators
Overall, the Carolina Hurricanes vs Nashville Predators series during the regular season was not competitive. It is predicted that this trend will continue. But the Predators will have something to say about this.
The Predators can hold their own, and thus are predicted to win at least one game, but are more likely to squeak through two depending upon player performance and the possibility of players missing the series due to injury. If the Hurricanes, conversely, lose players to injury, they do have a fair bit of depth, especially with players who could take over for third and fourth forward line players, and for the third defensive pairing.
As for playing in the net, the Carolina Hurricanes vs Nashville Predators both have plenty of options. The Predators have two solid options in Juuse Saros and Pekka Rinne, while the Hurricanes seemingly now have three amazing options, with Nedeljkovic having broken into the starting position this season, as well as veteran goalies Petr Mrazek and James Reimer.
Playoff Preview: Carolina Hurricanes vs Nashville Predators Key Players
Andrei Svechnikov: Andrei Svechnikov is an amazing player, who has shown that he could be the most important for his team in any playoff preview. Svechnikov has shown that he belongs in the top line groupings of the Hurricanes vs the Predators. Not only has Svechnikov put up a shocking 42 points, with 15 goals and 27 assists, he has also proven to be a necessity in the power play, having put up 17 of his points on the power play.
The other place in which Svechnikov shows his might is on the penalty kill, as Svechnikov is effective at closing shooting lanes, taking on defensive responsibilities, and laying the body to reclaim the puck and clear it down the ice. With all this considered, Svechnikov will certainly be a key player for the Hurricanes in the post-season.
Martin Necas: Martin Necas leads his team with the highest +/- of his teammates, with a score of +25 which ties him with the likes of Connor McDavid. Necas can boast 41 points on the season as well, having contributed to many of his teammates scoring, as well as creating space for himself to score 14 goals. Necas has shown that he belongs with the team, and has made a case for why he should be on the second line, if not on the first. Necas could prove to be an ace up the team’s sleeve, as he seems to be able to contribute no matter what line he is put on.
Alex Nedeljkovic: As mentioned before, Nedeljkovic has been an amazing breakout star this season, having come into play while Mrazek was out due to injury. Ever since breaking into the NHL starting position, with three shutouts, and posting 15 wins out of his 23 starts. Nedeljkovic could prove to be one of the best chances the Hurricanes have if they face an injury crisis in the net. This player could easily move in to take over and may shake up the series if the Hurricanes are behind in a game.
Roman Josi: Roman Josi leads his team in points, setting up his fellow players with 25 assists. As captain, Josi is important to team morale, and in any playoff preview, he has to be seen as possibly the most important player for his team. Josi works hard on offense in order to create space and set up his teammates, while also grinding on defense to contain the opposing team, and to push to claim the puck for his own team. If the Predators are going to put up a fight in this match-up, it can be assured that Josi will play a key role.
Mikael Granlund: Mikael Granlund has been the most active player in front of the net for his team, having scored the most goals for his team at 13 on the season. As well, Granlund has been able to take part in many different plays, as well as having a big job in the faceoff circle. Granlund also brings an important veteran presence to his team and could be the level-headed presence that his team requires to make it through to the next round.
Juuse Saros: In any playoff prediction, the most important players have to be the goalies. Saros has stepped up to the plate as the starter for the Predators, as Rinne looks closer to retirement and Faros looks to take over his job. Saros has started 35 games this season and put up three shutouts. With the offensive strength of the Hurricanes and the wealth of snipers that the team has, Saros will need to make a strong showing and make a large number of saves. This has proven to be Saros’s strength as he has kept a .927 save percentage this season.
The Carolina Hurricanes vs Nashville Predators is an intriguing series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The two teams have lots of talent up and down their rosters. It will be interesting to see whether or not the series goes the way that it did during the 2020-2021 regular season.
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