Wednesday, August 17, 2011
In the 2002-03 season, the Tampa Bay Lightning won their first playoff series in franchise history in six games against the Washington Capitals. However, they were eliminated in the next round by the New Jersey Devils, who went on to win the Stanley Cup.
The following year in the 2003-04 season, the Lightning had a stellar regular season and went on to win the Stanley Cup. This year's version of the Nashville Predators hopes to follow in their footsteps.
Last season, Nashville won their first ever playoff series against the Anaheim Ducks in six games. After getting over the hump of getting past the first round, the Predators are ready to make that next step toward a Stanley Cup.
It's often been said that Nashville is a team that is built more for the playoffs than it is for the regular season. Strong, physical defense and top-notch goaltending are always vital to winning a championship in the NHL.
Tampa Bay had players like Dan Boyle and Nikolai Khabibulin on the defensive side of the game. Nashville has Shea Weber, Ryan Suter and Pekka Rinne, which are better defensive weapons than Tampa had in the 2004 playoffs. The big difference is that Tampa Bay had offensive studs like Martin St. Louis, Vinny Lecavalier, and Brad Richards.
Nashville needs offense. It's an issue that keeps getting harped on by bloggers and members of the mainstream media. Perhaps people are tired of hearing about it, but the fact of the matter is that it's true. Nashville is one or two serious offensive threats away from being a Stanley Cup contender.
This season, the Preds will work to find that offensive help. Whether it's by acquiring another player or two or somebody currently on the roster drastically stepping their game up, Nashville must address that part of their game this year. If that happens, they have a serious chance at winning a Stanley Cup. That is, and always should be, the main goal.
Posted by Robby Stanley at 10:49 PM