Predators set to face Blackhawks in playoffs

Posted on April 14, 2015

The Predators are poised to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

While the Predators were one of the most consistent teams for much of the season they struggled down the stretch going 6-10-3 through their last 19 games and 0-3-1 in the month of April.

Not exactly the way a team wants to head into the playoffs, but the Predators remain confident despite their late season struggles.

The Predators take on the Chicago Blackhawks, the two teams met in the 2010 playoffs as well, and should match up well. The last time the two teams met the Blackhawks won the series in six games, this time around the Predators finished with the better record and have home ice advantage.

Chicago and Nashville play a somewhat similar style, which should make this series interesting. Adding to the intrigue is the fact it features a rematch between Chicago coach Joel Quenneville and Predators new coach Peter Laviolette, who was coaching the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010 when the two teams in the Cup final.

Speed through the neutral zone and activating the defense will be key.

The Blackhawks won three out of four games against the Predators this year, but needed extra time to win two games at United Center; 2-1 in overtime on Oct. 18 and 5-4 in a shootout on Dec. 29, which was the last time the teams played one another. Chicago won 3-1 at Bridgestone Arena on Dec. 6 and Nashville won 3-2 at home on Oct. 23.

Chicago outscored Nashville 11-9 and had a 142-120 edge in shots on goal.

The Predators could have as many as nine players making their playoff debut, but have some solid veterans who will offer leadership and a calming presence. With 97 games played in the postseason Mike Fisher is the Predators leading playoff leader in games played.

 Fisher missed the last two games of the regular season and could be a game-day decision.

While many were surprised by the Predators success this season Fisher said Nashville got things started at the end of last season and just picked up where they left off.