The reward for beating Anaheim in the first round of the playoffs? You get the best team in hockey in round 2-the Vancouver Canucks. During the regular season, Vancouver was the #1 team in goals scored, fewest goals allowed, best power play and best penalty kill. The teams split their 4 regular season games against each other this year, but the Canucks were the best team top-to-bottom in the NHL.
How do the Preds pull off the upset?
1. P-E-K-K-A R-I-N-N-E. He has to be sharp and on his toes from the start. Vancouver will bring offense in waves. Pekka Rinne and all 6 defensemen have to be on their game.
2. Stay out of the penalty box. After the Anaheim series, you hope Shane O'Brien and rest of team will not put the #1 power play on the ice much.
3. Disciplined hockey. Be smart on offense. Don't get caught in too deep and give Vancouver any more scoring chances than you have to.
4. Score on the power play. The Preds did a decent job against Anaheim, but against Vancouver they have to score as much as possible in power play situations to pull off the upset.
Prediction time- the Preds have to win 1 of the first 2 games in Vancouver. If they do that and score on the power play, they could squeak out a victory in 6 or 7 games. But if my life depended on getting the prediction right, I say Vancouver in 6.
But I sure pray that I am wrong. Let's go Preds.