Western Conference Semi Finals Preview: Coyotes vs Predators

Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

 

#3 Phoenix Coyotes vs #4 Nashville Predators

Season Series: Phoenix 2-1-1, Nashville 2-2

Series Schedule:

Game 1: 4/27  NSH @ PHX 8PM

Game 2: 4/29 NSH @ PHX 7PM

Game 3: 5/2 PHX @ NSH 8PM

Game 4: 5/4 PHX @ NSH 6:30 PM

Game 5*: 5/7 NSH @ PHX 9PM

Game 6*:  PHX @ NSH (date and time TBD)

Game 7*: NSH @ PHX (date and time TBD)

* if necessary

 

Phoenix

We are all too familiar with how Phoenix got into the 2nd round.  They rode goaltender Mike Smith to a 6 game series win over our Blackhawks.  Coyotes fans better hope Smith hasn’t gone to the bathroom and lost the horseshoe that’s been up his butt for the last couple of months.  The Coyotes are 3-0 on the road in the playoffs and their 2 wins against the Preds in the regular season both came in Nashville.  The Coyotes are the highest scoring team left in the Western Conference which may come as a surprise.  The Coyotes top guns did not do much against Chicago.  Ray Whitney and Shane Doan only had one goal each.  Radim Vrbata, who had 35 goals in the regular season, was invisible in round one and did not score a single goal.

Leading Scorer: Antoine Vermette 4 goals, 1 assist, 5 points and Keith Yandle 0 goals, 5 assists, 5 points

Ex Blackhawk Factor: Adrian Aucoin, Radim Vrbata

Backstop: Mike Smith 4-2, 1.81 goals against average, .950 save percentage

Difference Maker: No doubt its Mike Smith.  The Coyotes will go as far as Smith can take them.  The the Preds will challenge the Yotes a bit more physically than the Hawks.  They will have a a greater net presence than the Hawks so Smith won’t be able to see everything coming to him. If he stands on his head again the Yotes will be moving on.

 

 

Nashville

Thank God paint is on sale at my local hardware store, because watching some of it dry might be more exciting than this series.  The Predators got by the Detroit Red Wings rather quickly in 5 games.  If you were surprised that the Yotes are the highest scoring team in the West, you will be shocked to learn that Pikke Rinne has the lowest save % of the 4 goalies left.  Gabriel Bourque  scored a team high 3 goals in the Preds’ opening series.  Much like Phoenix many of Nashville’s top stars did not score against the Wings.  Mike Fisher, Martin Erat,  and Patric Hornqvist all went scoreless.  Veteran defenseman Hal Gill missed the entire first round and he is doubtful for game one tonight.

Leading Scorer: Alexander Radulov 1 goal, 4 assists, 5 points

Ex Blackhawk Factor: No ex Hawks

Backstop: Pikke Rinne 4-1, 1.81 goals against average, .944 save %

Difference Maker: The Predators’ power play will have to show up in this series.  They had the 2nd ranked power play in the regular season but have the worst power play of the 8 teams left.  They scored just 2 power play goals in 22 chances.  This will need to improve in order for the Preds to advance to the next round.

 

My Prediction: This is a tough series to call, but the way Smith has been playing its very hard to go against him.  Coyotes in 7.

Topics: Nashville Predators, Phoenix Coyotes, Stanley Cup Playoffs

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