Sunday, May 1, 2011

Preds Must Protect Home Ice

After last night's dramatic double overtime win in Vancouver, the Nashville Predators have now seized home ice advantage in this series. Now, they must be ready to protect it.

Nashville tied the series at one game apiece on Saturday night when Matt Halischuk scored the game-winning goal in double overtime. Pekka Rinne absolutely stood on his head, literally, and made some incredible saves to keep the Preds in the game. He's going to have to continue that.

The Preds find themselves in the same position as last series. They're coming back to Nashville with the series tied 1-1. Nashville was able to split games 3 and 4 in the 1st round against Anaheim. They're going to have to shoot for the hometown sweep in this series.

Vancouver is a much better team than Anaheim was. They're quicker, more talented, and much better defensively. In fact, the Canucks were the number one defensive team in the league during the regular season. That means it's going to be much harder for the Preds to have the sort of offensive output they had in the 1st round.

Luckily for the Preds, Rinne is playing much better this series than he was last series, and the defense is doing a much better job. If Nashville is able to win games 3 and 4 and go up 3-1 in the series, they'll be sitting in a great spot to win the series. If they split, and the series is tied 2-2, they're going to have a much harder time winning the series than they did against the Ducks. Obviously, if they lose both games at home and go down 3-1, they are in serious trouble.

After the marathon game on Saturday night, both teams will get an extra day off and not play untl Tuesday. You can bet that Bridgestone Arena will be rocking on Tuesday night, and the intensity between the two teams is going to pick up. The hits will be harder, the battles will be more fierce, and the effort will be there for both teams.

The bottom line is that this is going to be one heck of a series. The Preds have an opportunity to defend home ice and come out with a 3-1 series lead. It's all in their hands to make that happen.

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