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Preds Look to Strike Balance Once More in Round Two

While Playing Their Brand of Hockey, the Predators Are Also Prepared to Adjust in St. Louis

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Communications & Content Coordinator

There's always a balance to strike.

Throughout the course of a season, the Nashville Predators will always carry a belief that if they execute their game plan to the best of their ability and play the way they know they're capable of, they'll be successful.

At the same time, each of the 29 other teams the Preds have to face will always have a different way of looking at the game, no matter how broad or miniscule.

The Predators undoubtedly found that balance in Round One against Chicago - a series sweep is evidence of that - and they'll look to find it once more when they begin Round Two on Wednesday night against the St. Louis Blues.

Only seeing divisional opponents in these playoffs thus far has also played a role, as there is a familiarity there that may not exist with those outside the division lines.

"I think we've done a pretty good job of adjusting inside of our division to the team that we're playing," Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. "Some of them are a little bit faster with puck movement, some of them are heavy, and some of them combine both. I think our guys do a pretty good job of figuring out how we need to play."

Those qualities have been talked about over the last three days, as the Preds have had on-ice practices, combined with off-ice film sessions, in preparation for the Blues. Of course, there will still be things that will pop up in Game One, that will be addressed when the time is right.

"St. Louis, as we've talked about the last couple days, plays that heavy game," forward Austin Watson said. "I think being able to play that style for us is good; being able to play that grinding game, to be able to get into those battles and win them. But at the same time, we want to use our strengths. We talk about our game, our attack game, our speed, and we want to just be able to do a little bit of everything."

The first contest of any series usually provides a decent gauge as to how both teams would like to play, giving coaches and players alike the chance to adjust and adapt, whether it be on the fly or from game to game.

"I think every team makes some changes, and it depends how the series goes for each team," defenseman Roman Josi said. "There's always things you can do better, and the series goes on, I think both teams try to do things even better. Even if they're doing well, you always try to get better in the series."

"Everything is under such a big microscope - you see the team four, five, six, seven times and for us, you're able to take in what happened in the previous game and maybe make some adjustments," Watson said. "I don't think a whole lot changes, but obviously throughout the series, both teams are able to see what they're up against."

After a couple of days off, followed by three more days of practice, the Preds are more than ready for the chance to strike that balance once more - and there would be no better time to start than in Game One.

"We're definitely ready to get it going again," Watson said. "The couple days off was great, but we're rested and ready to go."

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