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Nashville Predators: Contenders or Pretenders?

The Nashville Predators are currently in 1st place, with 76 points, in the Western Conference and the NHL. They are wrestling with the Anaheim Ducks for 1st place in the West. The Ducks beat the Preds 5-2 last Thursday, but the Preds have been able to overcome the deficit since that game to take the lead again in the West. But the big question about the Predators season that everyone is asking, are the Predators a contender for the Stanley Cup or are they pretenders like they have been in the past?

The Predators are 5th in goals scored in the league, but they have allowed the 3rd fewest goals against this season, mainly due to the outstanding play of goaltender Pekka Rinne. However, their Penalty Kill is ranked 17th and their Power Play is ranked 20th. Their offense is much better than their defense is, but they have one of the best goalies in the league in Pekka Rinne. Pekka Rinne has stood on his head in goal when they have needed him to, but they now have the offensive firepower to counteract their sub-par defense. James Neal, Filip Forsberg, and Colin Wilson are leading the way on offense for the Preds.

Peter LavioletteĀ is my personal run-away candidate for coach of the year because of what he has done in Nashville. He has figured out the formula for the Preds to win and it continues to work. Laviolette has focused this team on winning, and that is exactly what they have done. The Preds are one of the favorites to come out of the West this year, but will they win the coveted Stanley Cup?

I have the Predators as one of my favorites coming out of the West this season to play the Pittsburgh Penguins from the East for the Stanley Cup. I truly think that the Predators are contenders unlike their past playoff appearances. In the past, they haven’t had what it took to win a Cup, but now they have all right parts. They have a fantastic offense, a stout goal tender, and a coach that knows how to win blue-collar hockey games. While lacking some playoff experience, I believe that the Preds are most definitely contenders and are looking at their first shot at winning a Stanley Cup.

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