Puck drop for game one of the Western Conference Final is set for 8:00 PM CT on NBCSN tonight, and with that in mind here’s a little “who to watch for” this series starting with the Nashville Predators.

  • Roman Josi- Defense, 4G 4A, +3
    • Once again it seems like Roman Josi is being overshadowed by his fellow teammates.  Fellow defencemen Ryan Ellis has been having a great postseason and P.K. Subban is well P.K. Subban.  Josi has been an integral part of this Nashville blue line for quite a few years, and for quite a few years he’s been underrated.  Roman Josi is going to take control this series and show the world that there is no reason to underestimate him, in the words of Michael Scott, “maybe next time you’ll estimate me.”
  • Filip Forsberg- Left wing, 3G 5A, +11
    • Filip Forsberg has been bringing it night in and night out since the opening series thumping of the Chicago Blackhawks.  His plus/minus rating is the best on the team and he’ll look to continue dominating with his fellow line-mates Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson, the best line in hockey right now.  It still blows my mind to think that Forsberg was once a Washington Capital, but was traded to Nashville for Martin Erat. Who is that you ask?  Exactly.
  • Mike Fisher- Center, 0G 0A, +2 
    • The two goose eggs above should be a little concerning for Nashville fans.  The captain has struggled offensively this postseason, but has done a pretty good job in a shutdown role for the Preds.  Fisher needs to put some pucks to the back of the net, or set up some scoring chances if they’re gonna beat the Ducks, who have tremendous center depth, in a seven game series.

Now that we discussed three guys to keep an eye on from the Predators side, lets take a look at who you should watch for the Ducks.

  • Ryan Getzlaf- Center, 8G 7A, +9
    • Unlike his counterpart Mike Fisher, this captain has gotten it done.  It was amazing to watch Getzlaf take over during the Edmonton series.  He realized he needed to step up and he did.  The Ducks Captain is going to need to be big once again, but I have no doubt that Ryan Getzlaf is going to more than ready to play.
  • John Gibson- Goalie, 7-3, GAA 2.80, Sv% .908 
    • John Gibson has had his struggles this season, his first as the go to guy in net.  He found himself on the bench with his ball cap on watching Johnathan Bernier in his net a couple of times this postseason.  It’s time for Gibson to show why Bob Murray traded Fredrick Andersen this past summer.  He’s not going to have the easiest task slowing down the Predators offense, or having to out duel Predators goalie Pekka Rinne.  Rinne  was virtually unbeatable in the opening round, and was almost as stellar in the second round series against the Blues.
  • Shea Theodore- Defense, 2G 5A, +2
    • Anaheim has an absolute plethora of quality defencemen, just ask Shea Theodore.  The 21-year-old has spent the last couple of season trying to crack that line-up, but finally did this season.  The former first round pick has had a phenomenal postseason, especially for a rookie blue liner.  Theodore plays an integral part of the power play, which will need to be spot on if Anaheim wants to take down Nashville.

In what is sure to be an excellent Western Conference Final, you should keep an eye on those six players to set the tone.  Will Nashville advance to their first Stanley Cup appearance in franchise history, or will Anaheim stop being the bridesmaid and finally be the bride?  I’m sticking with my preseason prediction and going with Nashville, but this is a series that could go either way.

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