Faceoff for Game One between Nashville and Chicago is just hours away, so to get you ready for tonight's game I'd like to offer a few key points that could lead to a Predators victory:
- Aggressive forechecking - the absence of puckhandling wiz Brian Campbell on the Chicago blueline presents an opportunity to stifle the Blackhawks' attack before it gets rolling through the neutral zone. Guys like Joel Ward, Jerred Smithson and Jordin Tootoo need to get on their D quickly, and lay on the body every chance they get.
- Roll the lines early - Nashville will need contributions from every line and defensive pair, so getting them into the game early and often will help settle things down and calm the nerves.
- Pucks on net - when an odd-man rush presents itself, the puck must be shot on net; shots that go wide can fly around the boards and turn the play back the other way too quickly to respond. The Penguins made that mistake twice in the 3rd period of their Game One, and Jarkko Ruutu scored the winning goal for Ottawa as a result.
- "Head on a swivel" - Terry Crisp loves to use this phrase, but against speedy forwards like Chicago has, it's especially critical that all five of the Preds' skaters avoid getting focused on the puck-carrier at the expense of everyone else.
- "Save, Pekka Rinne" - Sorry to put the Macarena in your head, but the Predators have to get outstanding goaltending. Thankfully, that's exactly what Peks has provided for the last several weeks.
Did I miss anything? Oh yeah - a rowdy fan base throughout Middle Tennessee sending out good vibes... Remember to check the Game Day Preview for two great spots to watch the game tonight, or cozy up at home with the requisite snacks & drinks.