The post What to Expect From Canucks vs. Predators Playoff Series appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.

With the Dallas Stars’ clinching the Western Conference title with their 2-1 victory on Wednesday, the second Western Conference playoff matchup was determined; the two teams: the Vancouver Canucks and the Nashville Predators.

The Canucks (50-22-9) will have the home ice advantage against the Predators (47-30-5) in the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Canucks hold the Pacific Division title with 109 points while the Predators sit in the first wild-card spot with 99 points.

Vancouver won the season series against Nashville, winning all three games, and outscoring them 14-6. Even though the scoresheet looks one-sided, both teams have shown what they are capable of this postseason. Here are some of the things each team has made clear entering this year’s postseason.

Vancouver Strives on Young Talent

A huge part of the Canucks success this season has been the domination on the blueline, with young talent Quinn Hughes stepping up as a top defender in the league. Currently tallying a league-high 91 points consisting of 17 goals and 74 assists, Hughes has not only defended the blue line but also potted a goal or two when the team needs it.

“It wasn’t our ultimate goal but just shows what a year it’s been. Our consistency throughout the year starting at training camp. Would be a nice touch on the regular season finishing it up here.”

???? Quinn Hughes on the potential of what a division title means to the team. pic.twitter.com/y2Gwx1NHes

— Y – Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) April 15, 2024

Known for his offensive talent, Hughes seeks to put the puck in deep and set up plays when positions are open. Players such as Brock Boeser and J.T. Miller have strongly benefited from the constant playmaking of Hughes, each potting 40 and 34 goals respectively.

Along with Hughes, Elias Pettersson has broken out as a strong part of the team’s push for the playoffs. Tallying 89 points, 34 goals and 55 assists, Pettersson has proven to the league what he is capable of, solidifying himself as a top center competitively.

Lack of Playoff Experience in British Columbia

While their young guns may be their strong suit, it is also their Achilles heel. With the average age of the Canucks roster being 27 years old, there is a true lack of playoff experience.

With Hughes as captain, the team might struggle to adapt to the pressure of the postseason as not even their leaders have truly experienced playoff hockey. This is especially true considering that only a handful of the roster has past the first round with their former teams.

Elias Petterson Quinn Hughes Vancouver CanucksPredators Going Into Playoffs Stacked on Energy

After going on a franchise-record 18-game point streak in the trade deadline period, the Predators have been unable to hide their excitement for the playoffs. Considering that Nashville was looked at as a bottom-feeder team going into this season, they have pushed their limits far beyond their reach.

Consisting of Filip Forsberg, Ryan O’Reilly, and Gustav Nyquist, the Predators’ top line has been one of the best in the league. All three of the players have put up 60+ points on the year.

What a shot ????‍???? pic.twitter.com/Sw6FR3AGTM

— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) April 16, 2024

A huge part of this energy comes from the milestones that were accomplished this year, mainly from Forsberg. From breaking a career-high in points to shattering the franchise’s goal record, Forsberg has managed to lift his team whenever they were stuck in a hole.

Forsberg has 94 points on the year, consisting of 48 goals and 46 assists. Likely, the Predators would not be where they’re at without him.

Depth Scoring Tearing Down Team’s Performance

As stated just before, the Predators’ first line is very dominant, too dominant to be exact. With 269 goals scored this season, the first line has scored nearly 35 percent of them. Even though they do not have the majority, the statistics still show that the bottom six have lacked a true scoring ability.

With their best player outside of the top six being Tommy Novak on the third line, the bottom six is nothing but fringe NHL talent. While a case could be made for players such as Luke Evangelista and Mike McCarron, the team still struggles to give some of these guys a chance to play the game, costing the team big time.

Combining the Two Teams; What is Expected in this Series?

Both teams have their strengths and weaknesses entering the postseason but there is one thing for certain, they will push through their struggles with all their might. Considering everything, the series will be close in every game, making this one of the toughest in the opening round.

Next: McDavid’s Even-Strength Production Powers Oilers’ Success

The post What to Expect From Canucks vs. Predators Playoff Series appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.

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