The Western Conference Final is here and the surprising Nashville Predators face the Anaheim Ducks in the final four of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. These two teams are no strangers to each other. Last season, the Predators stunned the Ducks in the first round by eliminating them in seven games. This season the Predators have gone where they have never been before while the Ducks finally won a Game 7 on Wednesday night after losing their previous five series deciding games.
The Predators have had almost four days’ rest since eliminating the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 on Sunday. I think the rest will help them after such a physical series and have them ready for the Ducks. The Ducks, who just played on Wednesday, will be ready to take it to the Predators and attempt to get revenge for last season’s loss.
One thing that might be the Predator’s undoing is a mindset that they have nothing else to prove. They have advanced further than any team has in the past. Hopefully, they will play more loosely and relaxed in this series. The Ducks on the other hand, seem to be on a mission. They have had good teams in the past season and seem set to push through to win the Cup.
Game One begins tonight in Anaheim.
In the regular season, the Ducks won the first meeting on October 26th convincingly 6-1. In their only meeting in Nashville, the Predators blanked the Ducks 5-0 on November 12th. In their most recent meeting, the Ducks won 4-3 in a shootout on March 7th.
The Predators are 2-0 in playoff series against the Ducks. Winning four games to two in 2011 and winning in seven games last season.
I believe that the Predators’ magical playoff run will end here. I look for the Ducks to take the series in six games and advance to their second Stanley Cup final.