NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Hockey is back, and the Nashville Predators have one more sleep until they officially restart the season. They’ll face the Arizona Coyotes in a best-of-five game series, with the winner moving on to the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Finding consistency before the pause was an issue for the Predators, but head coach John Hynes has been happy with what he’s been able to get out of his guys over the past few weeks.
“The work that you put in prior to game one is something we talked about in the pause and also when we came into training camp, so we feel like we haven’t wasted a day,” said Hynes.
That dedication showcased by the players can definitely benefit them coming into this qualifying round, but the Predators would also like to find some confidence from the jump. While it’s hard to build that only playing one exhibition game, Hynes was impressed with the fight his guys put up against the Dallas Stars, and believes it’s built some faith.
“I think one of the biggest things from the Dallas game was their work ethic, the commitment and the attention to detail that we had throughout the lineup. It’s not overconfidence, but if we come in and are mentally focused and play the game that we want to play and have the structure we want to play with, we’re going to be a competitive team,” added Hynes.
Predators forward Nick Bonino is just one of many players who saw cohesiveness from the start of training camp, noting that it looked like the team never looked like it was on a break. He feels like they have been focused from the start of camp, and a win over the Stars certainly gave them belief.
“I think playing the type of game we did against Dallas, a physical game against one of our rivals, and to come out on top and get a win, I think that gives you a bit of confidence and that is huge going into these playoffs,” said Bonino.
The Predators start-up their series with the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday in Edmonton, puck drop set for 1 p.m. on Fox Sports Tennessee.