Monday, April 23, 2012

Preds not satisfied with advancing to second round

With their Western Conference Quarterfinals series victory over the Detroit Red Wings, the Nashville Predators will be advancing to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second time in franchise history.

Last season, the Predators defeated the Anaheim Ducks in six games in the first round to advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. It was one of the most memorable moments in Predators history, and it has raised the bar for the Predators in this year's playoff run.

"We overcame a huge hump for the organization last year. I think there's a lot more expectations on us this year. We made a lot of moves at the deadline to try and make our team a little bit better. I think this year we've got the ultimate goal in mind, and we have to win round two in order to do that," said Predators defenseman Kevin Klein.

After getting past the Ducks last season in the playoffs, the Predators struggled out of the gate against the Vancouver Canucks in Game 1 of the second round. They weren't able to generate a lot of scoring chances on Roberto Luongo, and the Canucks were able to hang on for a 1-0 victory. Vancouver eventually won the series against Nashville in six games.

This season's version of the Predators is planning on making a much deeper run in the playoffs. The expectations are higher than ever before in the Music City, and those expectations don't go unnoticed in the Nashville dressing room. The Predators simply aren't satisfied with simply advancing to the second round of the playoffs again.

"I don't think we were ever satisfied last year. I think there was a sense of a bit of accomplishment but still disappointment. This year, obviously there has been more expectations because of that and a little more experience in being here before. I think that's going to help us," said Predators forward Mike Fisher.

Hockey's ultimate prize awaits the team that is able to survive the grueling journey of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This postseason, the Predators feel like they have what it takes to be the last team standing in June. In fact, they are not settling for anything less.

"We want the Cup and anything less than that is going to be disappointing. That's the bottom line for us. We feel like we're ready for it. We're hungry and we've got all the tools. It's going to be a great run for us," Fisher said.

The Predators will await the winner of the Phoenix Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks in a series where the Coyotes hold a 3-2 series lead over Chicago with Game 6 on Monday night. If Phoenix clinches, the Predators will start their second round series on the road. Nashville will have home ice advantage in the second round of the playoffs if the Blackhawks are able to come back to win both Game 6 and Game7 this week.

(Photo Credit: Leanne Charles)

Follow Hockey Night in Nashville on Twitter: @hockeynightNSH