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Playoffs: Preds and Blues X-Factors

Nashville's First Line Was Dominant in Round One; Blues Hold Keys to Special Teams Battle

by Thomas Willis @TomAWillis / Digital Manager & Producer

Special Teams Advantage: The overall offensive and defensive numbers in the regular season are quite similar for the two teams - as was detailed above - but there's a clear winner in the special teams edge.

The Blues registered a Top 10 power play and penalty kill during 2016-17, ranking third on the penalty kill (84.8 percent) and eighth on the power play (21.3 percent). In what's likely to be such a tight series on the scoreboard and on the ice, can the Blues rely on their special teams to win them a game or two?

First Line Dominance: The JOFA line was very, very good for Nashville in Round One. When the Preds needed a goal late or wanted to hold a lead, Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette looked no further than Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson.

The advanced analytics for the Preds first line were second-best in the NHL during the regular season and the trio didn't slow down in Round One either. Johansen recorded at least one point in every playoff contest, while Forsberg and Arvidsson each scored twice.

Can they dominate against the Blues' stout defensive front?

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