Sports

Which wildcard team should top teams be afraid of?


Matt Larkin and Mike McKenna answered some inbox questions on the “Daily Faceoff Show” today, the most interesting of which being: Which wildcard team scares them the most coming into the playoffs?

McKenna: “I think the Nashville Predators do it. It’s a team that, for me, plays a fairly tough and direct style. They are in your face. You have Tanner Jeannot and Michael McCarron bringing things on the fourth line. They pushed the rest of the club into a fight, and I think John Hynes had them play a style that could do playoff damage.

They can play close games, they’re always in it and I think when you look at their record against the best teams in the Western Conference, that’s when Nashville has played the best. They didn’t ride for the teams. They have been in these games for much of the season.

I think beyond that is the Juuse Saros factor. Other wild card teams, we’re talking about potentially Washington, Dallas, Boston, there are still question marks there in terms of experience and what they’ve done in the regular season. I have no question mark with Saros. He can steal games, and I think he can steal an entire series.

Larkin: ” It’s perfect. It’s crazy, you look at the graphic here, the parody in the NHL, it’s like they say “just get in”, and it’s so true. We saw what the Predators did as the 16th seed in 2017, Montreal had the 18th-best record last year and now I think you must be terrified of those Vegas Golden Knights. Doing their LTIR games, whatever they do is in the rules, you can’t blame them, we talked about that yesterday.

But now they have a kind of narrative momentum that culminates. Jack Eichel is finally healthy, Robin Lehner is back, relatively healthy, Mark Stone is back, you have the Evgenii Dadonov script where he came back from the dead, resurrected. And you can feel the kind of juju, I think Shea Theodore is stepping up his game as well, scoring big goals on defense.

And I’d just be frustrated if I’m one of the top seeds in the West and you had to play Vegas as a reward for everything you did this season – and a team that a lot of people would have chosen to flee with the Pacific. Division. They could still peak when it counts, so I think that’s a team you really have to watch out for.

You can watch the full episode here…




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