After a 3-1 Game 6 elimination of the Blues, the Nashville Predators are on their way to the first conference finals in franchise history. One enormous reason why has been the defense, with lights-out goaltending from Pekka Rinne and outstanding work by the blueline pairings of Mattias Ekholm/P.K. Subban and Roman Josi/Ryan Ellis. (That’s an embarrassment of riches. Most teams would kill for a single pairing as good as either.)
In these playoffs, the Predators have allowed just 1.4 goals per game—very nearly a full goal better than any other team still alive. (That’d be the Rangers, at 2.36 goals per game.) But their real strength is in their two-way play. Ellis is tied for the team postseason lead with nine points; Ellis, Josi, and Subban are all in the top five; Ellis and Josi lead the Preds with four goals apiece.
Josi had a goal and assist in yesterday’s clinching game, and in the dressing room Subban grabbed the recorder of Predators communications coordinator Brooks Bratten to conduct a brief interview.
At least Subban didn’t give Josi a “talk about...” prompt.
Meanwhile, because we are going to be litigating that trade until the sun goes red giant and leaves the earth of a lifeless husk, the Montreal Gazette has another column trying to justify the Subban-for-Shea Weber swap. It’s mostly unobjectionable—yes, Weber is a good defenseman, and yes, the Predators’ success and the Canadiens’ elimination are results of factors broader than the play of either individual—but it fails to justify its headline (the author, Jack Todd, claims that he couldn’t explain why “the trade had to be made” because he didn’t have enough space), and Todd went on Twitter to continue arguing his criticisms of Subban.
Things got weird—at one point Todd brought up marching in civil rights protests as a defense—and resulted in him blocking Habs fans who pointed out that Subban has been good defensively even when the goals aren’t coming:
Subban breaks people’s brains, which is reason enough to root for him.