Shutting down Jonathan Toews, stellar goaltending keys to Predators' first-round hopes ESPN logo
Saturday, April 15, 2017

What can the Nashville Predators do to stay ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks?

Craig Custance: Find a way to keep Jonathan Toews off the scoresheet. The St. Louis Blues eliminated the Blackhawks last spring in part because Toews was held without a goal in all seven games. Toews now has a playoff goal drought of 10 games, reaching back to the 2015 Stanley Cup finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Nashville needs to keep that drought going.

Joe McDonald: Plain and simple: More stellar performances by goaltender Pekka Rinne, who was outstanding in Game 1. A team can draw energy from a player's performance, especially when it's the goalie, and the Predators will need more of that if they want to advance.

Scott Burnside: They can get more scoring. The top line of Viktor Arvidsson, Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen delivered the only goal necessary in the Preds' Game 1 victory, but unless the other key members of the offense -- Mike Fisher, James Neal, Calle Jarnkrok and the super-elite defensive corps -- chip in, keeping the mighty Blackhawks under control will be a mighty challenge.