On the second day of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Presidents’ Trophy winner Nashville will look to repeat as Western Conference champions and win one more series after that. Game 1 is on Thursday, April 12th in the Music City and again two days later. After that, they head to the Mile High City to play the next two contests on the even-numbered dates.
With the Predators the best team during the regular season and Colorado needing to win in Game 82 to secure their postseason bid, Nashville is an enormous -470 series favorite, easily the largest of the first round. The Avalanche (+395 odds) have an uphill battle and were swept 4-0 this season and have dropped 10 in a row to Nashville.
Though the Predators (53-29 SU, +13.4 units) are decided favorites, don’t expect coach Peter Laviolette and his team to take Colorado lightly. It was one year a Nashville team was the last squad to make the postseason and all they did was reach Game 6 of The Finals.
Nashville grew up last year and that maturity showed all season long. The Preds finished 7th in scoring and has so many scoring options it is ridiculous, with a whopping 13 players who tallied at least 10 goals. Its forward depth is hard to match up within a series because eventually, they generate their own mismatches. On defense, Pekka Rinne has gotten past the “regular season goalie only” tag. He finished 4th in goals against (2.31) and save percentage (.927) for netminders who appeared in at least 30 games. Rinne tied for the most shutouts with eight. The Nashville defensemen also did their part for the second-best defense in the NHL.