Trotz says pursuit of Stanley Cup starts in earnest with second round of playoffs

Barry Trotz took the Nashville Predators to the playoffs seven times in 15 seasons.

The way he looks at it, though, he and his team only actually pursued the Stanley Cup twice, in 2011 and 2012, when they made it to the second round of the playoffs.

He discussed the free-for-all nature of the first round and the uncertainty that exists during those two weeks in his remarks at his farewell press conference Monday. The playoffs opened Wednesday night and illustrated some of what he discussed.

“I’ll tell you what – the first round for anybody, the first round scares the death out of any team that plays,” Trotz said. “It’s the hardest round physically, emotionally. And you only have to be good in four of seven games – better than the other team. And that’s what scares everybody.

“Once you get through that first round, you’re going after something.”

The opening night of the postseason included three games, all of which included some real drama that was unexpected based on seeding and geography. Consider:

• Pittsburgh, which won the Metropolitan Division and had the Eastern Conference’s second-highest point total, trailed Columbus by two goals (3-1) less than a minute into the second period. The Penguins got even fewer than two minutes later and finally got the game-winner midway through the third.

• Tampa Bay earned home-ice advantage when it edged Montreal by one point for second place in the Metropolitan. The Lightning promptly squandered that edge when they were outshot 44-25 overall and 35-16 in regulation of a 5-4 overtime loss to Montreal. Tampa did lead twice (1-0 and 2-1), but gave up the equalizer in 3:15 or less both times.

• Anaheim, which had the Western Conference’s best record, was up 4-0 on the Dallas Stars, the last wild card team, at halftime. For the last 6:07 of the contest, the Ducks had to hold a one-goal lead. The Stars scored twice in the final four minutes of the second period and got another in the third.

Four more games are on tap for Thursday.

“It’s going to be great watching the teams this year,” Trotz said.