The chase for the Stanley Cup is down to four teams, and the NHL Conference Finals begin this weekend.
Before the games, make sure to take a look at our preview below, where we review some pertinent information and predict which teams will continue to fight for the Stanley Cup.
Western Conference Finals
Nashville Predators vs. Anaheim Ducks
Season Series: Anaheim 2-1
Players to Watch: Pekka Rinne, G — Nashville
Rinne has been the best goaltender of the NHL Playoffs this year, and it is foolish to think that could slow down suddenly. Blanking the Blackhawks a couple of times and limiting the Blues to one goal exactly in three games, Rinne has the best save percentage in the playoffs at .951. If there is a favorite for the Conn Smythe Trophy across the league, it is definitely the Nashville netminder.
Ryan Getzlaf, F — Anaheim
Getzlaf is third in the playoffs for scoring at 15 points, trailing Evgeni Malkin of the Penguins by just three points. So far, everything that has led to success for the Ducks has run through Getzlaf, and that could be troublesome heading into this series as Nashville can shut it down defensively. One of the premier centers in the game, look for the captain to raise his game to another level as he continues the path towards his second Stanley Cup.
|20.0||Power Play %||13.9|
|87.5||Penalty Kill %||69.0|
This is definitely the more interesting and potentially longer series of the two about to get started, but this one could end up being slightly boring in terms of scoring chances as both defenses step up their game.
Anaheim finally got the game seven curse off of them, but I don’t think that is enough for them to suddenly seize momentum. Nashville will be away for four games if this one goes seven long, but that has not stopped them yet.
Winning in the playoffs comes down to defense and whoever is the best net-minder, and that no doubt leans towards Nashville who advances to their first Stanley Cup Final.