We have made it through the first round of the playoffs. Instead of 16, 8 teams remain in the second round. The first series of the second round that I'll be previewing is the Nashville Predators against the St. Louis Blues.
St. Louis Blues
First round: vs Minnesota Wild in 5 games
The Blues, led by Lady Byng finalist Vladimir Tarasenko, were able to surprise many (not me) by beating the Wild, and in just 5 games. Jake Allen was sharp in net with a 1.47 GAA and a SV% of .956. They played terrific, and most of their players have the experience of playing after the 1st round (they went to the Western conference finals last season).
First round: sweep vs Chicago Blackhawks
Did you think Allen's first round numbers were impressive? Then you haven't seen Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne numbers against Chicago. He had an amazing GAA of 0.70 and a SV% of .976. Wow. Their skaters continued to dominate, and should be good in round 2.
My prediction: St. Louis Blues
Both teams are very even, but I'm going to give this one to the Blues. Rinne beats Allen, and the Blues beat the Preds on offense. The defenses are similar, and strong. But I think the St. Louis offense is stronger, and the depth is better. So, the Blues should be in the Western conference finals again.