NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Game one of any post-season series is all about setting the tone.
Getting off to a good start is crucial to carry you through a seven-game series.
In the Predators case, it’s crucial toward winning the series.
Historically, a game one win for the Preds is the difference between winning the series and losing it. Nashville has never won a playoff series after losing the first game.
Now, that’s a pretty good sample size. Contrast that with winning a playoff series and they are 7-2 when winning the first game. You have to go all the way back to 2010 for the last time they’ve lost a series after winning the first game. The Preds have won 7-straight series when starting off with a win.
If we’ve learned anything from this 2021 Predators team, though, it’s their ability to come back from a bad start. Look at the entire season for instance. Mid-March they found themselves with a lowly 11-16-1 record. Since, they’ve gone 20-6-1 to clinch their seventh-straight playoff berth.
“Obviously when you wake up, it’s the first day of playoffs,” said Preds captain Roman Josi. “There’s a lot of excitement around the room. Guys will be ready, guys are excited.”
A tough task awaits them in Carolina who won six of the eight meetings against Nashville this season, outscoring the Preds 23-9 in those six victories.
“We were not at our best. They played fantastic, they played a really good game, they were on top of us. They beat us straight-up,” said Predators head coach John Hynes. “We feel like we’ve made some changes to that, not just against Carolina, but in general to our game.”
Juuse Saros’ dominance has been well documented, but they’ve also found more offense down the stretch. In the first six games against Carolina, Nashville scored just 9 goals. In the final two, they notched 8.
“It’s the playoffs. They’re going to come out flying, ready to go. We’re going to come out flying, ready to go. It’s going to be intense, it’s going to be a fun game and I think both teams are expecting the same. Both teams are rested, both teams have had a week off, so let’s go compete here,” said Hynes.
The puck drops for game one in Raleigh, North Carolina Monday night at 7 p.m. CST.