NHL.com: Why Nashville will win the Cup

Sunday, 04.8.2012 / 2:55 PM CT / Nashville Predators Playoffs Coverage
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NHL.com: Why Nashville will win the Cup

The Nashville Predators have been consistent postseason participants, but winning a series for the first time in franchise history was a big step forward in 2011. There were some key additions during this regular season, and, as a result, the Predators took the next step and became a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.

Now all that is left is winning the thing.

Shea Weber
Shea Weber
Defense - NSH
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 1 | PTS: 3
SOG: 33 | +/-: -1
The Big Why: Everything with Nashville starts with their own version of a "Big Three" -- goaltender Pekka Rinne plus defensemen Shea Weber and Ryan Suter. No other team in the League can match Nashville's combo of No. 1 goaltender and top two defensemen. They are the backbone of an elite goal-prevention outfit.

They will have a little help in that department, and some added playoff experience with the addition of veteran Hal Gill. There is also depth on defense -- Nashville has at least nine defensemen that coach Barry Trotz would feel comfortable playing if needed.

The Big Uh-Oh: The biggest issue in years past for Nashville has been at the other end of the ice. The Predators did a great job of stifling the Sedin twins and holding the Vancouver Canucks to just 14 goals in six games during the second round last season. Nashville didn't score nearly enough to upset the Cancuks, producing more than two goals only once during the series.

That said, scoring is less of an issue in Smashville. The Predators were No. 21 during the regular season in goals last year, but improved to No. 9 during the 2011-12 campaign. The Predators have 10 guys with at least 13 goals this season, and there is plenty of depth and variety at forward for Trotz to choose from.

Patric Hornqvist
Patric Hornqvist
Right Wing - NSH
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 3 | PTS: 4
SOG: 36 | +/-: 1
Patric Hornqvist and Mike Fisher combined for 50 goals. Paul Gaustad was a nice addition to help win faceoffs and add some offense from the bottom six. The Kostitsyn brothers are back together, and both have played well in Nashville.

Final Argument: Nashville can stop teams from scoring. The Predators have proven they can score goals ... in the regular season. They'll need to do so in the postseason.

Then there is the wild card -- Alexander Radulov. Nashville might have been one gamebreaker short despite all of its depth, but not anymore. Radulov was a solid, young player with potential a few years ago, but now he's matured. He could be the final piece for a team capable of winning the Stanley Cup.

Author: Corey Masisak | NHL.com Staff Writer

SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

SCHEDULE
 

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 33 31 1 64
R. Josi 81 14 47 -3 61
J. Neal 82 31 27 27 58
S. Weber 78 20 31 -7 51
M. Ribeiro 81 7 43 11 50
C. Smith 82 21 16 4 37
M. Ekholm 82 8 27 14 35
R. Johansen 42 8 26 10 34
R. Ellis 79 10 22 13 32
C. Jarnkrok 81 16 14 1 30
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 34 21 10 .908 2.48
C. Hutton 7 5 4 .918 2.33