It’s unbelievable what the Penguins have done to get to their second consecutive Stanley Cup final. They battled through all the injuries to win the Eastern Conference again. On the other side is the Nashville Predators. Not many thought they would make it here, but after they swept the Chicago Blackhawks, more started to believe. They definitely earned their way to this point and are a great story for their first Stanley Cup final appearance.
The biggest strength of the Predators is their defense. Their top four defensemen are probably the best in the league. Leading all defensemen in points in the West is Ryan Ellis with 11 points. P.K. Subban and Roman Josi are right behind him with 10 points each. And don’t forget about Mattia Ekholm who has eight of his own points.
It’s not just that this group can score, they are very sound defensively. The biggest key to this series will be the Penguins top two lines with Crosby and Malkin going against the Predators top defensemen. Even if the Pens can find ways around the Predator defense, they will still have to deal with the playoff’s top goaltender in Pekka Rinne. He has posted a 1.70 goals against average and a .941 save percentage these playoffs with 2 shutouts.
This will be a really tough series for both teams. Expect it to go long, maybe even the distance. Hopefully the boys in black and gold will be hoisting the Cup at the end of it.