A rematch of last year’s Western Conference Semi-Finals match up these two teams have plenty of bad blood between them. Combine their history with the fact that both of these clubs have been successful this season and are in contention for a playoff spot and you have yourself a great Sunday afternoon game.
Both of these teams have come back down to Earth recently as some playoff pushing teams have handed them some losses but their spirits aren’t deterred. Looking ahead the Predators are looking to repeat as Western Conference Champions and the Blues are hoping that this is the year they finally get over the hump.
Regarding this match up, in order for the Blues to win they are going to have to find a way around Pekka Rinne and his defensemen. The Preds thrive off of their strong defensive game and then burn you at the other end with their speed.
This game will not be one of strength and brawn as there is just too much high caliber skating present in order for that kind of hard hitting game to take over. If the Blues can control the tempo and not let the Predators get past them, I like the Blues chances at sealing a victory in Smashville.
But again, it comes down to whether or not St. Louis can solve that brick wall in the Preds net known as Pekka Rinne and play at a pace that works for them. As soon as the Predators are consistently able to use their speed to get around the Blues’ offense, this game is done.
For the Predators this is going to be a fast game. Playing to their strengths will be a huge key to their possible victory. And by playing to their strengths I mean using their speed. A fast team wins by playing fast and the Predators have shown that they are capable of leaving teams in the dust.
Second key to a victory is obviously play to their home crowd. One of the loudest buildings in the NHL and they need to use it to their advantage. Start the game hitting hard and getting shots to the net to get the crowd into it.
This of course isn’t a Stanley Cup Final game but we’ve witnessed how loud those Smashville fans can get and if the Preds can use them as a boost as they did throughout the playoffs, they will be in pretty good shape for their upcoming match against the rival St. Louis Blues.
As for predictions, sweet and simple. Predators win 3-2. Close game but the Predators are too fast and they use that to their advantage. Strong goaltending on both sides but Pekka Rinne gets the edge.