After barely surviving the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round, the NHL's Presidents' Trophy winning Vancouver Canucks will face the relatively unheralded Nashville Predators, who advanced to the second round for the first time in franchise history by taking out the Anaheim Ducks. The Predators don't have the top-end talent of the Canucks, but their strong blueline, forward depth and solid coaching may prove to be a challenge to the prohibitive Stanley Cup favorites nonetheless.
Vancouver offense vs. Nashville defense
Vancouver Canucks offense: +34.0 GVT (Rank: 1st in NHL)
Nashville Predators defense: +7.5 GVT (Rank: 11th)
Nashville Predators goaltending: +23.2 (Rank: 3rd)
Total: Vancouver Canucks, +3.3 GVT
Despite boasting the most potent offense in the NHL this season, the Canucks don't have an obvious advantage here thanks to the Predators' combination of a capable defense and well above average goaltending. One of Nashville's biggest organizational strengths is their excellent blueline, anchored by Shea Weber and Ryan Suter. The former was nominated for the Norris Trophy this season and he is a deserving candidate. Weber routinely faces top-notch opposition, starts more often in the defensive end and moves the puck in the right direction. Suter, Weber's frequent partner, is nearly Weber's equal in terms of defensive ability, with the duo forming a very strong shutdown pairing.
The rest of this article is restricted to Hockey Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information
on Hockey Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best hockey content on the web.