NHL Playoff Picks: Phoenix Coyotes vs. Nashville Predators

This is not your father's NHL.

As great as Mike Smith has been for the Phoenix Coyotes, you won't see me picking him over Pekka Rinne in a seven-game series. The Coyotes needed six games to get past the formidable Chicago Blackhawks and their shaky goalie in the first round; they'll likely need even more to eliminate Nashville in Round 2.

Phxslim_medium Nas-alt_medium
3 - Coyotes (42-27-13, 97 pts.) vs. 4 - Predators (48-26-8, 104 pts.)
Season Series: PHX: 2 Reg W, 1 Reg L, 1 SOL
SB Nation hangouts: Five for Howling | On the Forecheck

How we voted: 56% of you voters chose Nashville to get past the Red Wings; 10% nailing it in five games. On the other side, it was just about a 50/50 split of votes in the Hawks vs. Coyotes, with 21% of you nailing the Coyotes in six.

It is now time, dear reader, to vote again. (Vote in the poll; also consider this the evening's playoff watch thread.)

Islanders Bits

First, for the Isles fans, some news bits:

Series Notes

I've gone into what I think the Predators are doing to succeed, but I'm an idiot so I could be way off. Suffice to say they can win games they don't deserve to thanks to Rinne, and other times they deserve to win with or without Rinne.

I frankly find both of these teams pretty boring to watch, so I'll go into what I like about them: Southern markets that could. Both have had their troubles -- each through setting down stakes in new markets while experiencing poor (literally) ownership or management (or both) over the years.

So while the networks hate it and the traditionalists hate it (wait, I'm a hockey traditionalist!), I think it's fantastic that long-suffering fans who embraced what is for many a new sports, now get to see it at its most dramatic, if not its best.

Hopefully the Coyotes get a little boost from home ice advantage, as I suspect they'll need every bit of assistance to break through the stingy Nashville defensive wall.

I probably shouldn't subjectively rate scoring chances, but while both teams in this series were heavily outshot in the first round, the scoring chances Phoenix gave up struck me as more dangerous than what the Predators conceded to Detroit.

The Coyotes are certainly accustomed to close games though: They only went to overtime five times against Chicago. They also had a close season series with the Predators, each team picking up two wins but Nashville's getting one via shootout. Goal differential was 12-11 in Phoenix's favor.

So maybe I'm wrong. Again.

Pick 'em

Make your pick in the poll. But for commenting purposes, we like to hear both who you think will win and who you want to win.

Heart Says: Coyotes in seven. Because I want a long series, and I want the winner to be exhausted for the next round.

Head Says: Predators in six. Their late-season additions change the game enough.

TV Schedule

Friday, April 27, 2012 9:00 p.m. Nashville at Phoenix NBCSN, TSN, RDS
Sunday, April 29, 2012 8:00 p.m. Nashville at Phoenix NBCSN, TSN, RDS
Wednesday, May 2, 2012 9:00 p.m. Phoenix at Nashville CNBC, TSN, RDSI
Friday, May 4, 2012 7:30 p.m. Phoenix at Nashville NBCSN, TSN, RDS
*Monday, May 7, 2012 10:00 p.m. Nashville at Phoenix NBCSN, TSN, RDS
*Wednesday, May 9, 2012 TBD Phoenix at Nashville TBD, TSN, RDSI
*Friday, May 11, 2012 TBD Nashville at Phoenix TBD, TSN, RDS
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