I will answer that question in the first sentence: No. They will not have the kind of playoff run they had last year when they stunned the Anaheim Ducks in seven games and pushed the San Jose Sharks to game seven before being eliminated.
The Nashville Predators open the first round series with the Chicago Blackhawks. I simply don’t think the Predators are good enough to beat Chicago or advance any further this year. Everyone around here is talking Stanley Cup but I’m just being real about it. Yes, I am a Predators’ fan but I refuse to get my hopes and emotions ramped up. I learned my lesson from the Super Bowl. Last year’s playoff run was fun but it is not reasonable to think it will the same this year.
First, the Predators are not consistent on defense. They have too many breakdowns and turnovers in the defensive end. P.K. Subban has not been the defensive star that I expected him to be when they traded for him last summer. He spends too much time trying to rip shots from the point than getting back on defense.
Second, the team is not consistent on offense either. They have some players that can put the puck in the net but too many times they take low percentage shots or make poor passes. I have found myself yelling to them too many times to “shoot it” when they hold onto the puck too long or make one too many passes. James Neal, Filip Forsberg, Mark Fisher, Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson can score goals but there doesn’t seem to be consistency. The Predators will often outshoot their opponents but have nothing to show for it. This could also be Fisher’s last playoff run. It is expected that he will retire at the end of the season.
You also can’t expect Pekka Rinne to stop everything. Eventually he is going to get beat. The defensive breakdowns are killing him.
Throughout the season, the Predators have played close games. No lead is safe with this team. They know how to play close games but they often know how to lose close games too.
As far as this series with Chicago, I am predicting the Blackhawks to finish the Predators’ season in five games.