Predators fly into first round against Anaheim

The Nashville Predators finished the regular season in fifth place in the Western Conference with a record of 44-27-11. 

By totalling 99 points the Predators managed to draw a matchup with the Anaheim Ducks in round one of the playoffs with game one occurring on April 13th in Anaheim at 10:30pm.

The Predators hope that they can continue their current hot streak into the playoffs as they are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games.

Here are some potential impact players for the Predators as the seven-game series approaches.

Forwards

Martin Erat- 17 goals, 33 assists

On a team without an elite scorer, Erat has been the model of consistency over the past several years for the Predators.  He’s had nearly 50 points in almost every season he’s played with the team and led the team in points in 2011. 

This type of consistent play may make Erat a player to watch should the Predators get on a decent run in these playoffs

Sergei Kostitsyn- 23 goals, 27 assists

Since coming over from the Montreal Canadiens, Kostitsyn has bloomed into an effective scorer for the Predators in his first campaign as a Predator.

His 23 goals was the most on the team this season and goes to show that this Czech can find the back of the net when given the opportunity which should make him a key player of note on the Anaheim scouting charts.

Patric Hornqvist- 21 goals, 27 assists

Another man who hovered near the 50-point plateau this season is Patric Hornqvist.  Although is goal-scoring dipped over from the 30 he scored in 2009/10, this 24 Swede can be an offensive juggernaut should he not be picked up in the offensive zone.

Defencemen

Shea Weber- 16 goals, 32 assists

What more needs to be said about the captain of the Nashville Predators that hasn’t already been said.  After winning a gold medal in Vancouver 2010, Weber has continued his stellar play into the 2010/11 season being named an all-star and should inevitably be in the talks for the Norris Trophy. 

In a display of his resilience, Weber suited up for all 82 games this season which bode well for a team who are in hopes of a long playoff run.

Ryan Suter- 4 goals, 35 assists

You won’t see much in the way of goal scoring from Suter but his playmaking ability has made him the Predators leader in assists this season with 35. 

His puck moving ability and presence on the defensive end will be vital for Nashville’s hopes of finally making it past the first round of the playoffs.

 

Goalie

Pekka Rinne- 33-22-9

It seems like every year there stands a goalie that throws his team on his shoulders and marches through the playoffs.  Last year it looked like Jaroslav Halak would do it with Montreal, but he fell short. 

Rinne’s .930 save percentage and 2.12 goals against make him a prime candidate to carry the Predators for the first time past the second round, but he’ll need some help at the other end of the ice to do so.

Head Coach

Barry Trotz- Career 455-407-60-76

Trotz leads his Predators to the playoffs for the sixth time and the last seven seasons.  Trotz was a finalist for last year’s Jack Adams award for coach of the year and looks to be in the discussion again in 2011 after an impressive team without any elite scorers.