Following a modified 56-game schedule that exclusively featured inter-division matchups, the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs are about to bring us two more rounds of divisional clashes. RotoWire will bring you a breakdown of each division ahead of the start of postseason play. Kyle Riley will provide a deep dive into the Central Division series below.
Carolina Hurricanes (1) vs Nashville Predators (4)
The Hurricanes dominated the regular-season series between these two teams, winning the first six of eight contests before dropping the final two meetings to the Predators to finish with a 6-2-0 advantage. Carolina also outscored Nashville 24-17 over that span, so many of those games weren't particularly close. The Hurricanes were phenomenal at home this season, finishing the campaign with a 20-3-5 record in PNC arena, whereas the Predators were just decent on the road this year, going 13-13-2, so the fact that Carolina has home-ice advantage could be a determining factor in this series.
Hurricanes: The Hurricanes boast a ton of young talent up front, with Sebastian Aho (24 goals, 57 points in 56 games), Andrei Svechnikov (15 goals, 42 points in 55 games) and Martin Necas (14 goals, 41 points in 53 games) leading the way as three outstanding forwards who are all 23 years old or younger. That youthful foundation is complemented by several key veteran pieces, including Vincent Trocheck (17 goals, 43 points in 47 games) and Jordan Staal, who bounced back with 16 goals and 38 points in