Who will be the MVP of the Predators-Jets series?
Emily Kaplan, national NHL reporter: I'll take Mark Scheifele of the Winnipeg Jets. Earlier in the season, I polled a bunch of players about who they believed was the most underrated player in the league. One Central Division opponent initially identified Scheifele, then voided his answer. "I would say Scheifele," he said. "But I think everyone in the league knows he's been good for some time." I firmly believe Scheifele would have entered the crowded MVP race this season had he not missed a chunk of time because of injury. Anytime I watch a Jets game, he stands out. The 25-year-old center already has four goals in his first five games these playoffs. I honestly wouldn't be shocked if he maintains that pace.
Chris Peters, NHL prospects writer: I'm going with Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban. In Nashville's first-round series, no Predator played more minutes 5-on-5 than Subban. He had three assists but also got some heavy doses of Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon. Winnipeg is a matchup nightmare because of its overall forward depth, so Subban can be an equalizing force when he's at the top of his game. Slowing down the Jets is no easy task, but the Predators have shown that they can own the puck when Subban is on the ice. It's hard to single out just one defenseman, because this team clearly has the best blue line in the league. But I fully expect Subban to be a major factor in this series.
Greg Wyshynski, senior writer: Since I've picked the Predators as the victor in this premature clash of the Western Conference's elite teams, I'll go with winger Viktor Arvidsson as the key contributor to the Predators' win. He has 11 points in 11 career games against the Jets, including two goals and five assists in five games this season. Arvidsson had just two goals and one assist in the first round against the Colorado Avalanche but was second among Nashville forwards in shot attempts, with 91. So with a little puck luck, and his pedigree against the Jets, I'll go with Arvidsson ... assuming that his linemate Filip Forsberg also has a strong series.
Sachin Chandan, ESPN the Magazine researcher: My MVP for the Predators-Jets series is Filip Forsberg because the Predators will count on his scoring to win this series. Forsberg leads Nashville with four goals and sees the second-most power-play time and the second-most offensive zone starts, putting him in position to get shots on net. His line, with Johansen and Arvidsson, had a dominant Fenwick of 68 percent and generated 57 shots, 24 of which were his. Forsberg's defensive stats weren't gaudy, because his line drew difficult matchups in the Avalanche series. But the bright side is that his line only gave up one goal. His path to series MVP: tread water against Winnipeg's scoring engine and pound the net when he has the puck.