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Preds vs Ducks: Series Predictions from the Staff

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It is time to draw a line in the sand, and give the people what they want: hot takes and predictions.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

BEHOLD: The staff speaks.

Prediction # of Games Reasoning & Justification
Jason Predators 5 My reasoning is that I always pick my favorite teams to win. ALWAYS. Even when they are clearly outgunned and inferior. That isn't the case with this series, though. I wouldn't be terribly surprised if any of the teams that aren't the Wild win the West, so I'll stick with my guys until they prove me wrong. I mean seriously...why pick the Ducks? To be "realistic"? If the Preds lose this series that will be plenty of realism for me. I don't need to predict it, too. I wouldn't go so far as to say anyone who picks them isn't a #TrueFan, doesn't have a soul etc, but some people might. Some people.
Kris Ducks 6 The biggest concern I see the Predators having in this series is consistent goaltending. There's no question that Nashville can expect elite performances from Pekka Rinne, but they comes in waves. Unfortunately, I'm not entirely sure if he can deliver in the playoffs this season. He's been fantastic here and there, but it's never been enough to really push the team to the next level. Maybe it will be different with the added offensive power Nashville boasts this season, but it all boils down to goaltending. If Rinne plays great hockey, maybe not even elite-level, and the Predators get some bounces their way, they could survive to round two. I'm not a fan of this matchup with the Ducks, however, and I feel that Anaheim will take the series in the end.
Bryant Predators 6 A lot of people are giving the series to the Ducks because they were so dominant in the latter part of the season. While they could easily carry that success over into the playoffs, that 5 day layover could be enough to cool them off a bit. The Predators are flying a bit under the radar and if they can come out hot and Pekka can stand tall in net... then I think they can get the Ducks off kilter from the get-go. Plus, I'm a homer at heart.
Marya Predators 6 This series will come down to Pekka Rinne and our play at even strength. The Ducks are still a bit banged up, so if we can get the jump on them and get them down early in the series, I like our chances of taking it at home.
Jeremy Predators 6 Pekka Rinne and rest. These two things will be key to the Predators winning this playoff series. Lights out goaltending coupled with the superb offense of our top two lines should allow the Predators to win in 6 games. Added bonus if Playoff Wilson shows up like Sunday Tiger Woods.
Mark Predators 7 Pekka Rinne has got to be on his A game and the Predators have to stay out of the box as the Ducks held the top power play in the league during the regular season. It's going to be tough for Nashville's top-six to be the lone scoring lines in this series if Nashville wants to advance to the second-round. This means Colin Wilson, Viktor Arvidsson and company are going to have to find the score sheet on a semi-regular basis. Game one is going to be the biggie here; if Nashville wins the opening game in Anaheim...oh boy.
Link Ducks 7 The media are all giving the series to the Ducks, but I think the Preds take them to the limit. I fully believe the Predators can come out and win the series, but they'll need a combination of mental fortitude, clever coaching, and a focused Pekka Rinne to do it.
George Predators 7 Yeah, yeah, the Ducks have the best special teams in the NHL . . . after playing in the weakest division in hockey. That and $2.95 will get you a Grandé Pike at Starbucks. The Ducks are bigger in average size than the Preds, and taking the body early on can wear a team like Nashville down over the course of a game, let alone a series. But Nashville and Milwaukee are both healthy, meaning Nashville is very deep for this run. Pekka Rinne needs to step up and deliver the playoff performance of his career, but nobody at 501 Broadway thinks they can hang it all on Pekka like years past. And it's a good thing, too. The addition of Ryan Johansen and continued development of Filip Forsberg are very welcome signs for a Preds team that has struggled to mount consistent offensive numbers. I predicted at the beginning of the year that the top line would need to produce about 80 goals to demonstrate the consistency needed to make a deep run in the playoffs. That didn't really happen, but Forsberg and Neal combined for 64. Add a Jarnkrok in there, and you get to 80. If the blueline can tighten up its play, Neal can play with an edge without crossing the line, and His Highness Prince Filip of Filthy Forsbergs can be a star, the Ducks are eminently beatable. Also, the CW is based on a hockey intelligentsia that will never give Nashville a fair shake in prognostications, no matter what the team does--so I'm picking Nashville to wave a middle finger at them, too.
Alex Predators 6 Protecting Pekka: The Story of the 2015-16 Nashville Predators. The only question remains: will the second half of that story feature a Cup run? It starts with the Ducks, and I actually feel confident they can manage this Anaheim team. The Ducks don't shoot particularly well 5v5 and their defense is suspect. They own an obvious advantage in goal... but I like our chances with Johansen, Neal, Smith, and Forsberg shooting at John Gibson or Frederik Andersen. The Predators' defense will need to keep almost everything to the outside, as we don't want another Ryan Kesler playoff goal explosion and we don't want Corey Perry... well, at all.
Dan Predators 6 There's only one Ryan Kesler, and he'll be tasked with shutting down one of Nashville's two scoring lines. It's debatable on which line of Nashville is the better line, so I'm banking on the Preds winning a coach's chessmatch.