If you did not have Nashville as one of your futures’ bets to win the Stanley Cup, you have a lot of company. The eighth-seed Predators are a stunner to be here, unless you have been watching the playoffs.
Nashville swept top-seed Chicago and mostly out-played St. Louis in winning in six games. They are traveling to nearby Disneyland to face Anaheim, who is coming off a grueling and wild seven-game series with Edmonton.
Goalie Pekka Rinne has been nothing short of sensational with an astounding .951 save percentage in net. He has been backed by stellar blue-line play from the likes of Ryan Ellis, Mattias Ekholm, Roman Josi and P.K. Subban, who all have made strong contributions on the offensive side. They have accounted for 27 points (nine goals, 18 assists) thus far in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Nashville’s top line of Ryan Johansen, Viktor Arvidsson and Filip Forsberg brings speed and pressure. If they and the rest of the Predators forwards can keep Anaheim’s defensemen split, they will generate odd man rushes similar to what Edmonton frequently did.
Anaheim is the underdog, which might not sit well in the locker room. The Ducks had to win four of last five against the Oilers after losing first two at home and thankfully center Ryan Getzlaf is at the very top of his game. Getzlaf has 15 points in 11 playoff games and he will need more help against a sizzling net-minder and a defense permitting 1.4 goals a game in the postseason.