I will save you the suspense. No, the Nashville Predators will not win the Stanley Cup.
Don’t judge me. I am fan of the Predators but after coming within two games of winning the Stanley Cup two summers ago, the Predators have not had that “it” factor since the bitter defeat in Game 6 against Pittsburgh.
It is amazing that the Predators managed to squeak past the Winnipeg Jets and St. Louis Blues to win the Central Division title on the last day of the season. This season has been quite frustrating to watch the Predators. They started the season on fire by going 9-3 in the first month of the season but injuries, lack of scoring and a season-long disability on the Power Play kept them from being the same team in the past two seasons.
The main problem with the Predators is scoring. They can’t seem to find consistency with putting the puck into the net. Aside from Viktor Arvidsson and Filip Forsberg, the Predators have no scoring punch. The acquisitions of Mikael Granlund and Wayne Simmonds have not fixed an inept power play either. The defensive effort has been a glaring weakness at times with defenders giving up the puck in their own end too many times. I have lost count the times I have heard the play-by-play announcers tell us that P.K. Subban has turned over the puck. If not for the awesome goaltending of Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros, the Predators would have been sunk.
One of the announcers made a painfully obvious statement in one of the games when he said “you can’t score unless you shoot the puck”. The Predators have driven us crazy with passing way too many times before taking a terrible shot attempt. I have joked during the season that maybe we can get a banner for that too. Stop looking for the perfect shot. Take the shot!
One thing that we have also wondered about the team is if there are some problems in the locker room. I haven’t heard or read about any rumors of any personality issues in there but there is definitely a problem as the team seems to be out-of-synch. That “it” factor or “mojo” they have had in the past is definitely not there now. They need to figure out how to get it back or they could be done early this season.
Tonight they open the playoffs with the Dallas Stars. The Predators were 2-1-1 against the Stars this season. If there’s anything we have learned about the Predators this season is that they play better on the road than they do at home and no lead is ever safe.
Oh I want to Predators to prove me wrong and win the Cup but honestly there are better teams in the playoffs with more offensive power than Nashville. If the Predators can miraculously revive their 29th-ranked power play in the playoffs it might change things. If they can build on the momentum from their come-from-behind win over the Chicago Blackhawks in the regular season finale, maybe they can regain that “it” thing.
I’m being a realist here and say that I expect the Dallas Stars to eliminate the Predators in six games.