Carolina Hurricanes: Round 1 Series Preview vs. Predators

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 9: Sebastian Aho #20 of the Carolina Hurricanes skates against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on March 9, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/NHL/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 9: Sebastian Aho #20 of the Carolina Hurricanes skates against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on March 9, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/NHL/Getty Images) /
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RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA – MARCH 04: Martin Necas #88 of the Carolina Hurricanes celebrates with his teammates following a goal scored during the second period of their game against the Detroit Red Wings at PNC Arena on March 04, 2021, in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA – MARCH 04: Martin Necas #88 of the Carolina Hurricanes celebrates with his teammates following a goal scored during the second period of their game against the Detroit Red Wings at PNC Arena on March 04, 2021, in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

Overall

Well, this is a series the Carolina Hurricanes lock dominant in on paper. Juuse Saros would need to stand on his head in a thousand different ways for Carolina to be under pressure. However, if hockey was played on paper, Tampa Bay wouldn’t have been swept by Columbus two years ago. It’s a game of luck, so it’s incredibly unpredictable at the best of times.

Carolina starts the series at PNC Arena tonight at 8 PM Eastern Standard Time. Game two will be at the same time on Wednesday. When the series moves to Nashville on Friday, puck drop is scheduled for 7 PM Eastern. Games 4, 5*, 6* and 7* still do not have start times yet. (*If they are needed.)

It’s finely poised. Carolina’s skating unit seems leaps and bounds better than the Predators’ core. While it’s younger and more energetic, Nashville still has most of the pieces they had on their 2017 Stanley Cup run; Nashville still boasts a lot of playoff experience. In the net, two 25-year-olds go head to head, with very similar regular season stats.

Behind the bench, Rod Brind’amour is underrated every year while John Hynes came down from New Jersey last year to take charge of the Predators after they fired their coach. It’s a clash of youth versus experience. It should be a great series to watch, and while it could be an upset in the making if the Canes take the Predators lightly, this should still be a victorious Canes hockey club.

But finally, it’s playoff time. Nashville-Carolina for the first time ever. For the first time since relocation, the Carolina Hurricanes have made the playoffs in 3 consecutive years. Young pieces filling out the holes on the roster perfectly, experienced players from the deep 2019 run, a Stanley Cup-winning captain, and a fantastic head coach. It should be a fun postseason for us to watch.

Question for Cardiac Cane readers: What’s your prediction for the series?