Prediction: Coyotes in 5
Result: Coyotes in 4
Had I known the Coyotes were going to play home games in their Kachina jerseys (it was apparently announced in May) I would have given them more of an advantage. I’m sure it’s just the nostalgia, but oh man do those sweaters look good these days. I expected a better effort defensively from Nashville who surrendered 4 goals to the Coyotes in each of their three losses. The Predators dominated possession in certain parts of games, but were done in by timely Coyote scoring and some great goaltending by Darcy Kuemper.
Must-see TV: Clayton Keller (Coyotes #9)
Although this should probably go to Kuemper, I have a difficult time saying a goalie is must-see TV unless that goalie is Dominic Hasek. I debated going with former league MVP Taylor Hall, or another fan favorite in Phil Kessel, but I chose undersized Clayton Keller. Keller made his mark with Team USA in the 2017 World Junior Championships when he led the team in scoring, and oh yeah, got a gold medal for his efforts. He’s only listed at 5’10, but has great quickness and skills with the puck. He also managed a pretty good hit on Nashville’s Matt Duchene, showing he’s ready for postseason play. But he’s more known for his speed and hands:
The Coyotes will play the Colorado Avalanche. Expect the ‘Yotes to be heavy underdogs. The Avalanche boast some tremendous offensive talent highlighted by MVP candidate Nathan MacKinnon. I do not like this matchup if I’m an Arizona fan.
Nashville is one of the more intriguing Phase 2 lottery candidates. I’m too lazy to check their contract statuses, but I would expect the Predators blue line to be strong. It has been the franchise’s defining characteristic (outside of Pekka Rinne’s former dominance). Adding a talented forward like Lafrenière could bolster an already skilled although underperforming top 6.