Two of the NHL’s feel-good groups will go head-to-head and one thing has to provide when the Predators and Sharks face-off in Spherical 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs — beginning Friday.
San Jose overcame its demons by ousting the rival Los Angeles Kings in 5 video games final spherical. The Kings infamously overcame a 3-0 collection deficit towards the Sharks two years in the past en path to the Stanley Cup. San Jose is within the second spherical for the primary time since 2013, whereas it seems to be to make it to the Western Convention Last for the primary time since 2011.
Nashville jumped out to a 2-0 collection lead on the street towards the Anaheim Geese, then dropped three straight and received Sport 6 at dwelling and Sport 7 on the street to keep away from elimination. It was the Predators’ first Sport 7 in franchise historical past and now they enter Spherical 2 for the third time since changing into a franchise in 1998. Nashville has by no means performed within the convention finals.
This collection ensures that one crew will discover essentially the most success that it has in years. To view our slideshow, CLICK START on the prime proper of this web page. Listed below are our predictions and a preview for this collection. To view our Stars-Blues predictions, click on right here.
[Pacific No. 2] San Jose Sharks (46-30-6, 98 factors) vs. [Wild Card No. 1] Nashville Predators (41-27-14, 96 factors)
Spherical 1 Reflection: Final spherical, we picked the Kings to beat the Sharks in seven (they misplaced in 5) and the Predators to fall to the Geese in 5 (they misplaced in seven).
Season Sequence: 2-1 Predators.
Particular Groups (Playoffs): Sharks: 23.8 p.c energy play (seventh), 78.6 p.c penalty kill (ninth); Predators: 3.8 p.c energy play (sixteenth), 84.0 p.c penalty kill (sixth).
Projected Goalie Matchup: Martin Jones (4-1, 2.18 goals-against common, .912 save share), Sharks; Pekka Rinne (4-3, 2.45 GAA, .915 save share), Predators.
Sequence Overview: Each of those groups are using excessive after Spherical 1, however there’s loads of work to do. The Sharks had an emotional collection win over the Kings, however have not performed since ousting them precisely every week earlier than Sport 1 of this collection. The Predators needed to grind out their collection with the Pacific Division’s top-seeded Geese, and have a fast two-day turnaround.
Joe Pavelski was an enormous power for the Sharks in Spherical 1, changing into considered one of three gamers within the league to attain 5 objectives and ending with six factors. Brent Burns tied for the league lead with six assists and ranked tied for fourth with eight factors. Logan Couture had 5 assists and 6 factors.
San Jose has veterans with loads of playoff expertise, together with Joe Thornton (1-2–3) and Patrick Marleau (1-3–4), however a few of their younger weapons have made an affect as effectively, together with the likes of Joonas Donskoi, 24, who lit the lamp twice towards the Kings. Within the opening spherical, the Sharks had been third in objectives for per sport (3.23) and fifth in objectives allowed (2.20).
The Sharks will go up towards arguably the very best defensive group within the NHL, spearheaded by Predators captain Shea Weber (26:36 time on ice in Spherical 1) and Roman Josi (27:16). Weber and fellow defenseman Mattias Ekholm tied with James Neal and Colin Wilson for the crew lead with two objectives apiece towards the Geese. Wilson and Weber every led the way in which with 5 factors.
One drawback for the Predators is on the offensive entrance as they averaged simply two objectives per sport by way of the opening spherical and sophomore sensation Filip Forsberg had only one aim. One other concern is their abysmal energy play, which transformed at simply over a ghastly 3 p.c towards the Geese.
In web, Jones is coming off of the excessive of knocking off his former mentor Jonathan Fast in what was a unbelievable collection for the Sharks’ netminder. Rinne is an all-world goalie, however has been wildly erratic and inconsistent all through this season. Nonetheless, coming off of a Sport 7 the place he yielded only one aim towards the determined Geese on 37 pictures, he has some confidence coming in.
Final Name: It will be a pleasant story for both of these groups to advance, however the onus will probably be on the Predators’ top-notch protection to make up for the offense’s shortcomings. The window is almost closed for the Sharks and their getting older veterans, so that they’ll have some further motivation to get it executed this season. The Predators should repair their offense and convert on the ability play to get previous this deep Sharks unit. San Jose is rolling after such an emotional group win over the Kings and the membership is not able to go dwelling the next spherical.
The Decide: Sharks in 6.
Which crew will win this collection?