The Nashville Predators are on the verge of franchise history.
With a win in St. Louis on Friday, the Predators will advance to the Western Conference Final for the first time since joining the NHL in 1998.
It would complete a heck of a run. Nashville swept the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round, holding Chicago to just three goals in four games. That defensive prowess carried over against the Blues: The Predators have allowed just 11 goals in eight total playoff games.
The key for St. Louis, then, would obviously be scoring first. The Blues have led in this series for a grand total of 3:51.
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But before we get there, let’s revisit what we’ve learned.
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Let’s start with the Most Valuable Player race that is still raging. We had every narrative and every argument come to life during the first round and there still is no consensus.
You and I both had Russell Westbrook. I felt bad about shortchanging James Harden, who really didn’t do anything to lose his hold on the top spot, and I wasn’t at all surprised by the 4-1 series outcome. Is it wrong that I still back Russ?
Not at all. Nothing about the series made it clear Harden is more valuable than Westbrook right now. The Thunder continued to revolve around Westbrook in every way; the Rockets continued to be better than the Thunder because of Harden’s excellence and a superior supporting cast. That series was essentially a microcosm of each team’s season (though the Thunder obviously had a good deal of success in the regular season).