Dissecting the Canucks vs. Predators round one playoff matchup: Canucks Conversation

Photo credit:© Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Clarke Corsan
7 days ago
On yesterday’s episode of Canucks Conversation, David Quadrelli and Harman Dayal dissected the looming playoff battle between the Vancouver Canucks and the Nashville Predators. The conversation highlighted key contrasts and potential turning points in the series.
“Since the All-Star break, the Predators have the second-best power play in the NHL,” Harm pointed out. “And we know that sometimes when there are upsets in first-round matchups, a lot of it is driven by special teams. You have a Nashville team that’s been red-hot on the power play and a Vancouver team that’s been up and down since the break. They’ve found some better form in April, but had lengthy stretches where they couldn’t get it done on the man advantage so that’s something to keep an eye on. Since the break, Nashville is the second-highest scoring team in the NHL while the Canucks struggled to manufacture offence in that time – they’re twenty-fourth in the NHL in that span.”
While the Predators boast recent firepower, Harm questioned whether that will carry into playoff success. “That said, I still think the Canucks are clearly favoured. Nashville plays this high-octane, rush-style offence – I wonder if they will have a difficult time translating that recent offensive dominance into the playoffs.”
He drew parallels to the 2021-22 Florida Panthers, another high-scoring team that sputtered come playoff time. “Andrew Brunette, the head coach of the Predators, coached the 2021-22 Panthers. That Panthers team was the highest-scoring team in the NHL that year by a country mile… Teams figured out how to shut that high-octane style down: round one they barely scraped by a Washington team that had no business going deep in the playoffs and then got swept against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and they only managed 3 goals that entire series. Washington and Tampa figured out how to slow them down in the neutral zone, push them to the perimeter, and they were a one-trick pony with how they manufactured goals.”
Harm sees a key advantage for the Canucks: “This is where, from a strategic perspective, Vancouver’s coaching staff is going to play an instrumental role. Come playoff time, the coaching and video staff are going to be watching mountains and mountains of tape on Nashville, and you can actively strategize against your opponent. The Canucks have been a top defensive team, and I’m interested to see if they can find a way to nullify Nashville’s offence and push them to the outside.”
Despite Nashville’s momentum, Harm questioned the quality of their recent opponents: “A lot of it has been against non-playoff opponents. Their record since January first against playoff opponents is 10-8-1, which is solid, they’ve won more than they’ve lost, but it’s not exceptional. They’ve been beating up on non-playoff teams, and they were outside a playoff spot when they started this run, so from an opponent’s perspective, you’re going to get more backup goalies and they’re not going to take the Predators as seriously.”
Finally, Harm explored whether a team can jump from being a ‘bottom-feeder’ to a contender overnight, responding to the narrative that it takes several years of limited playoff success to gain the experience necessary to win it all. “It’s happened 11 times,” he noted. “Six of those 11 made it past round one, four reached the conference finals, and one won the Stanley Cup. Ironically, it was Jim Rutherford’s 2006 Carolina Hurricanes.”
You can watch the full segment below:

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