The NHL is working on a plan to return with a 24-team playoff, and the Nashville Predators will face the Arizona Coyotes in the current format.
The NHL and Nashville Predators are getting ready to return to the ice to finish the 2020 season as the NHL is looking at a 24-team playoff to decide the champion.
With the 24-team playoff, the Predators will face off against the Arizona Coyotes in the first round. This poses as an interesting series for the Predators and one that’s definitely winnable. The qualifying series will be five games, and the winner will advance, and the loser will be done until the 2020-21 season.
One thing that has hurt the Predators in the past is late season and postseason fatigue. With the time off the players have had, that shouldn’t be an issue and we should see some of these players go on great runs.
The matchup could be an interesting one that takes three periods to decide a game. The Coyotes have a really good defense and the Preds bring a solid offense to the table with players who like to attack. We could see low scoring games, but that doesn’t mean that those games won’t be exciting
I wouldn’t be surprised if this series went all five games and push both teams to their limits just to advance to the next round. Tennessee sports fans tend to fall in love with the hard-nosed, gritty players over the flashy ones, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Preds fans have a lot of fun with this series because the Preds will need a lot of grit to win this series.
If there is one thing to watch for this series, I’d watch goaltender play on both sides. The Coyotes have two stud goaltenders guarding the net for them. Antti Raanta and Darcy Kuemper are lockdown goalies that could force the Preds to fight until late in the third period to score its first goals of the game.
For the Predators, Juuse Saros was a big reason the Predators began to surge before play was halted. He caught fire and helped the Preds find some consistency when they couldn’t before. If he comes out slow after the long time off, there’s still hope that Pekka Rinne could be the goaltender he was for the Preds in their Stanley Cup Finals run, but there’s a slim chance of that happening.
I really like this series for the Predators. It’s not going to be a really easy series, but it’s going to be a fun one to watch. I like watching the Preds score five or six goals a game, but when they win those 2-1 or 3-2 games, and the competitive edge returns, and your heart is racing at the end of the game, hoping the Preds pull off the win. That’s a great feeling when the Preds get those wins.