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Thursday, May 11, 2017

NHL : Predators Make Team History with First Ever Conference Finals Appearance

Following a 3-1 win over the St. Louis Blues on May 7, the Nashville Predators officially entered uncharted territory: the NHL Conference Finals. It seems as though the gutsy moves that General Manager David Poile made over the past two seasons, namely trading away prized young defenseman Seth Jones to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Center Ryan Johansen and trading team captain Shea Weber to the Montreal Canadiens for offensively-gifted PK Subban, are bearing fruit. Despite qualifying for the 2016-17 Playoffs as the final wildcard team in the West, the Preds lost just one game through the first two series.

To understand Nashville’s playoff success, look no further than their blueline. Through the first nine games of the playoffs, their defensive corps has amassed a staggering nine goals and 16 assists. Defenseman Ryan Ellis leads the team with nine points (4 goals, 5 assists), while both Roman Josi and PK Subban have contributed eight points apiece. While their offensive numbers are off the charts, their defensive stats are equally impressive. They’ve given up three goals in a game only once this post season and have held their opponents to one goal or less in six of nine playoff games. Although it’ll be hard to maintain this pace going forward, don’t be surprised if you see the yellow and blue come June.

Live odds and lines

NHL Odds: Defense Winning Games in Tennessee

With three of the team’s top four point scorers residing on the blueline, the Nashville Predators have found a strategy that frustrates even the best in the West. After qualifying as the lowest-seeded Western Conference team, the Predators made quick work of the Chicago Blackhawks (4-0) and St. Louis Blues (4-1) in the first two rounds.

By getting goals from a league-best 14 different players, including 25 points from their defensive corps, Nashville hasn’t allowed their opponents to key in on a specific line or player. Instead, teams are left trying to adjust to Nashville’s diverse attack and balanced offense, which will no doubt continue in the Conference Finals.


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