We finally know who the Nashville Predators will play in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It took past the originally scheduled regular season calendar but, hey, we finally know.
They clinched a playoff spot on April 1, they knew they were officially headed to Southern California on April 5 and now, the Sunday after the regular season was originally supposed to end, the Preds finally know that they’ll play the Anaheim Ducks.
Nashville was 2-1-0 against Anaheim this season and were extremely competitive against the Pacific Division’s best team. Furthermore, the Preds were 13-3-5 versus the Pacific this season. The Ducks are also dealing with a series of injuries. Starting goaltender Frederik Andersen was out with a concussion until Sunday night, Rickard Rakell has been shelved with appendicitis, Kevin Bieksa has missed action with an upper-body injury and David Perron is recovering from a separated shoulder.
All that being said, the Predators haven’t played the Ducks since November 17, well before the Ducks found their game and blitzed through the remainder of the campaign. Anaheim scored just 10 goals in the entire month of October (10 games) and went just 1-7-2. Matter of fact, through their first 19 games of the season, the Anaheim offense – with names like Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler – averaged just 1.79 goals per game. Since then, they’ve been clicking at nearly three per (2.94).
In other words, the Ducks aren’t the same team the Preds beat twice this season. They’re a better one.
The opening round playoff schedule is as follows.
Friday, April 15 @ Anaheim – 9:30pm
Sunday, April 17 @ Anaheim – 9:30pm
Tuesday, April 19 vs. Anaheim – 8:30pm
Thursday, April 21 vs. Anaheim – 7:00pm
*Saturday, April 23 @ Anaheim – TBA
*Monday, April 25 vs. Anaheim – TBA
*Wednesday, April 27 @ Anaheim – TBA
* – if necessary