The playoff series between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Nashville Predators was certainly an interesting one, with four out of six games going into overtime, and two of them being finished in double overtime. The playoff series remained tight most of the way through, with the Predators tying the series at two games each before the Hurricanes eventually took the game six win, finishing with the predicted result from before the series started.
Playoff Series Review: Key Players
Jordan Staal was a key player for the Carolina Hurricanes during the playoffs, having scored a point in almost every game. As the captain, he was leading by example as his line showed their veteran talent and moved the puck well, with the player showing how even in his advancing age he can still set up plays, as well as use his body to play physically. When his team was down or had just come into a game after a loss, he would do his job to inspire the players and make sure that they kept their heads in the game and made a comeback. Overall, Staal was a surprise star throughout this playoff series.
Alex Nedeljkovic was an amazing goalie during the playoffs as he won his first-ever playoff series, and made a stronger case for why he should receive the Calder Memorial Trophy. The goalie helped his team by backstopping through to victory as well as running a playoff shutout. The goalie maintained a .922 save percentage with 189 saves and only an average of slightly over two goals against per game. Nedeljkovic has had an amazing season, and fans can look forward to continuing to see him play well in both the playoffs and the next season.
Sebastian Aho leads his team in goals and points during the series and has had a truly amazing stretch of play. The young center is both a playmaker and two way forward, who made a push to maintain a positive plus-minus, while also scoring two game-winning goals. Aho also looked strong in the face-off circle as he maintained a slightly over 50% face-off win rate.
Mikael Granlund was the team leader in points, making a strong showing of why he deserves to play as a top-six forward. Whether he put the goals in himself or passed to set up a teammate, the player made sure that his team would start the game strongly and force the Hurricanes to come back from behind. Not one to shy away from the defensive side of the game, he would push players off the puck and help cover for defense whenever possible to try and keep opposition players from using the bumper position. After this playoff series, Granlund will be expected to continue to fill a key role next season.
Roman Josi has done an amazing job leading his team through the playoffs, inspiring them to continue towards victory and come back to tie the series at two games apiece. This performance has helped as the player made a star performance as captain, and has continued to push through a large number of difficulties, and putting up four points even as a mostly stay-at-home defenseman. Overall, Josi has shown why he deserves to wear the captain’s ‘C’ and will look to continue to play strongly going into the next season.
Josi will look to continue to make a strong impact as he moves through the playoffs and moves onto a new series, as well as looking to make a case for why he deserves to be the next captain of the Hurricanes as Staal looks closer to retirement age.
Playoff Series Takeaways
The overall takeaway from this series could be seen through the Carolina Hurricanes often chasing the game from the start, as the Predators would often score the opening goal in the game. The Hurricanes will look to make a strong showing in the next series against the Tampa Bay Lightning and will hope to start the game out strong and attempt to score the first goal of the game. They will need to lean on their star players in order to advance against the defending Stanley Cup champions.
The takeaway for the Predators would seem to be the need for stronger defensive performances later in the game. The team overall played well, but they had the majority of their slip-ups in the late game when they seemingly lost momentum and seemed tired and deflated. Going into the next season they will want to work on their endurance and maintaining momentum throughout the entire game.
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