3 reasons the Canucks will make quick work of the Predators in Round 1 of the NHL Playoffs

The Canucks play the Nashville Predators in Round 1 of the NHL Playoffs, and it looks like a favorable one for Vancouver.
Calgary Flames v Vancouver Canucks
Calgary Flames v Vancouver Canucks / Derek Cain/GettyImages
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The 2024 NHL Playoffs are one of those strange postseasons, especially in the Western Conference. While teams out East had no problem with drawing the mediocre New York Islanders and Washington Capitals, and even to a degree, the Tampa Bay Lightning, that wasn’t the case in the West. The Vancouver Canucks, for example, probably didn’t mind finishing second in the conference if it meant playing the top wild card team, the Nashville Predators. 

This is because, barring a pair of sensational runs that saw the Preds go 13-3-0 at one point in the season and 17-2-2 in another, they weren’t a good hockey team. Let’s not be as brash as to assume the pedestrian Predators will show up, but if Nashville doesn’t bring the A-game that saw them go 30-5-2 in the aforementioned contests, there’s a good chance the team that went 17-25-3 over the course of its other 45 contests will show. 

And that’s one of a few reasons the Canucks will get the best of the Predators, easily, might I add, in Round 1. 

Vancouver’s scorers matchup well against Juuse Saros

Overall, Juuse Saros had a down year, and while he came around toward the end of the season - especially during that 18-game points streak, Saros finished the year with a 0.906 save percentage and a 2.86 GAA, although he still earned three shutouts. 

Sure, Saros had quite the workload, with 64 games played this season. But that was no different from what we have seen from him over the past two years when he was a serious Vezina contender. He also allowed more goals than expected at even strength for the first time since 2018-19, and as a team, Nashville was just 13th in goals allowed, ranking near the middle of the pack. 

Meanwhile, only six teams scored more than the Canucks, who had 279 goals this season, or 3.4 per game. Vancouver also has high-scoring players like J.T. Miller, Elias Pettersson, and Brock Boeser, while few have logged more assists than Quinn Hughes this season. 

The Canucks are relatively deep, too, with seven players scoring at least 17 times and three posting 34 or more on the season. If they can keep this consistency up in Round 1 of the 2024 postseason, look for them to easily get the best of Nashville.