The Nashville Predators and Anaheim Ducks hit Game 1 tonight, after a long and difficult road here. For the first time in franchise history, the Predators are playing in a conference finals. For a while there, it looked like the Preds were going to be a team who would never get over the hump, and forever be losers who is would have to settle for playoff appearances. Well, the Predators are one round away from playing in the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Preds are here unexpectedly, if you were to ask anyone during the regular season. There aren’t many people who had this team getting past the Blackhawks in the first-round, but here we are, and the Preds have people believing. Suddenly, others are the underdogs and people have Nashville in there winners column.
Is there one thing we can pinpoint that has made the Preds purr? I’d say that the Subban-Weber trade set things in motion, as Subban came over to Nashville and immediately felt at home. Beyond his skill-level on the ice, Subban provides a significant lift in the locker room. He gives them a edge and attitude that wasn’t there before.
There is a sense of energy and leadership in Nashville that wasn’t with Weber. Sorry to Weber, but he is not that kind of player. The Preds head to the Duck Pond, where they tangle with a fellow opponent nobody saw going to the Eastern Conference Finals, the Anaheim Ducks. Head below for our Predators vs. Ducks Game 1 pick.
Nashville Predators vs. Anaheim Ducks Game 1 Pick
Somebody has to win this series. A team who many didn’t have in their bracket going to the finals. The Predators are playing with so much poise that it’s hard to argue they’re going to be denied. However, there’s a plethora of experience on the Ducks that is hard to overlook. I’m not going to lie to you, this isn’t the easiest series to predict. The Ducks just won a Game 7 over the Edmonton Oilers to end a dreadful streak of losses in Game 7’s. They may need to win another Game 7, because this could be a long series.
The Preds have gone 8-2 in their last ten games, thanks in large part to the steady Pekka Rinne. In ten matchups, he’s allowed just 14 goals. This isn’t the same inconsistent guy we witnessed in the regular season. The Predators have been sitting around waiting, while Anaheim just won 2-1 over the Oilers. Nashville is 20-22-2 on the road, and the Ducks are 29-9-2 at home. I see the Ducks riding their momentum from Game 1 to give us a winning pick in Game 1 in Anaheim.
PICK: DUCKS (-115)