After sealing the Anaheim Ducks’ fate on Monday night with a 6-3 victory, the Nashville Predators made team history by qualifying for the franchise’s first Stanley Cup Final, which is set to begin May 29. The recipe for success in the playoffs has been two-fold for the Predators: a balanced offensive attack and all-world goaltending. The Predators have seven players on their roster with double-digit points, which leads all NHL clubs. Their top line of Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson has been an offensive powerhouse (38 points collectively), while their top four defensemen have contributed an astounding 39 points as a group.
To understand the other half of Nashville’s success, look no further than their goaltender, Pekka Rinne. The Fin leads all playoff goaltenders in goals against average (1.70), save percentage (.941), wins (12), and is tied for the lead in shutouts (2). There is no question that Rinne has been the league’s most valuable player thus far in the 2016-17 playoffs, and if he continues that pace, fans can expect not only a Stanley Cup, but also a Conn Smythe Trophy to be paraded down the streets of Nashville.