We’ve hit a Weekly Lost & Found milestone this week: edition No. 30. Thank you to all who’ve read thus far! With the playoffs being in full swing, we’ll be taking a look at teams within different series to see who’s trending positively and negatively, as we’ve done all season long.
We’ll start with one from the Western Conference that is the lone team without a win so far this postseason. On the flip side, we’ll head to the Eastern Conference to discuss a team that’s won two straight games and clawed their way back to a series tie. Let’s get going.
Lost: Nashville Predators Still Searching for First 2022 Playoff Win
The Nashville Predators are in a deep hole as they look to rally behind their home crowd to not only get their first postseason win but also stay alive in the playoffs. The Colorado Avalanche have a stranglehold on them, and the series, 3-0. While Game 2 was close, an overtime heartbreaker for the Predators, they have struggled to contain the Avalanche’s firepower all series long.
Aside from that 2-1 overtime Game 2 loss, the Predators have had significant trouble keeping the puck out of their net. They’ve allowed seven goals twice, and 16 total in the three games so far this series. To make matters worse, their penalty kill is sitting at 57.1 percent. For the Avalanche, Nathan MacKinnon has scored four goals, while captain Gabriel Landeskog has three, and a trio of players has two. Part of the issue is that Predators goalie Juuse Saros has been injured and unavailable from the beginning of the series.
To make matters worse, Saros will continue to be out for the crucial Game 4. He played very well during the regular season, as he started 67 games and won 38 with four shutouts, and held a 2.64 goals-against average (GAA) and .918 save percentage (SV%). Now, with just three regular-season NHL games under his belt, 25-year-old Connor Ingram has been the goalie for the Predators.
Ingram holds a 3.50 GAA and .919 SV% in his three games. David Rittich played just 15 minutes in his lone game and allowed five goals on 13 shots. Just for some context, the Predators have allowed 46 shots-against per game (SA/GP).
Coming off a career year with 43 goals and 86 points in 78 games, Matt Duchene’s three goals account for half his team’s total scoring. Meanwhile, captain Roman Josi made a case for adding another Norris Trophy to his name during the regular season but has just a goal and an assist with a minus-2 rating this series. Filip Forsberg has no points in the series.
Related: 3 Takeaways From Predators’ Devastating 7-3 Loss to the Avs in Game 3
It’s difficult to be optimistic here. They’re not done yet, but a minus-10 goal differential is not going to work in the playoffs, and the Avalanche are a wagon. The Predators have neither been able to score goals nor stop them. However, they need to focus on one game at a time, starting with Monday, May 9 in Nashville, if they have any chance of fighting their way back into this series.
Found: Boston Bruins Claw Back To Tie Series at 2
The Boston Bruins were outscored 10-3 through the first two games against a Carolina Hurricanes team that was without their starting goaltender. Since then, they’ve scored nine goals and allowed just four, tying up their first-round series at two.
Special teams have been a major advantage for the Bruins thus far. They have a 22.7 percent power play, versus the 9.1 percent Hurricanes power play. Therefore, their 90.9 percent penalty kill is far superior to Carolina’s 77.3 percent. Brad Marchand is leading the way as he’s scored one power-play goal and five power-play points and totaled three goals and nine points in the four games so far in the series. Those nine points lead playoff scoring. As an added bonus, Charlie Coyle has scored a shorthanded goal as well.
Similar to the regular season, Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman have split action in this series. Ullmark started and lost the first two games and allowed eight goals with a .860 SV%. Swayman has won the last two games and allowed four goals with a .925 SV%. Evidently, switching to him was the right move.
Antti Raanta started the series strong for the Hurricanes and holds a .928 SV%, but was injured in Game 2. Pyotr Kochetkov came in and allowed six goals for a .900 SV% in his two games, but Raanta was back for their Game 4 loss. In front of this duo, Tony DeAngelo leads the team with five points, all assists, and Nino Niederreiter leads with three goals. 10 different players have scored goals.
If the Bruins can continue their hot play and win the even-strength battle, there’s a lot of optimism that they can take two out of three to win this series. Losing Charlie McAvoy to COVID-19 protocol will hurt, but their Game 4 victory proved that they can win without him if need be.
Related: Bruins’ Role Players Must Continue to Step up Against Hurricanes
While the Predators are looking to will their way out of a deep hole, the Bruins are standing on solid ground as they head back to Carolina for Game 5. For continued playoff coverage, the rapidly approaching NHL Entry Draft and more, stick with The Hockey Writers.