The Nashville Predators just didn’t have their regular jump until the fans exploded in the third period.
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The game against the Vancouver Canucks was going nowhere. Vancouver had come into the match on a five-game losing streak and a franchise-worst 228-minute scoreless drought. We
and expected a somewhat easy win. It was half way through the third period and the Canucks still held their 2-0 lead.
The sellout crowd of 17,113 had previously been announced as the Predators 31st of the season, setting a franchise record for most sellouts in a single season. They extolled their beloved Preds to score a goal and draw closer to the lead. Nearly 12 minutes into the period, James Neal ignited the spark that became an inferno with a goal to bring it to 2-1.
The crowd started roaring and chanting. “LET’S GO PREDS!” over and over filled the building. There was an energy that was growing and taking over the Building on Broadway. Just one minute and 12 seconds later Filip Forsberg scored again to tie it and the roof nearly blew off the Bridgestone:
The rest, as they say, is history. The Preds flew around the ice but couldn’t get the deciding goal, although they had great chances. They went into the overtime where they have been, shall we say, less than dominating this season. The crowd still seemed to increase their fervor, especially when the Preds finished the OT with a Power Play but couldn’t capitalize.
They went into the shootout and no one in the arena was sitting down. Back and forth, a wicked score by Ryan Johansen that was copied by Vancouver. The Predators last shooter was Craig Smith and he took this shot from the crowd’s perspective:
People at home could feel the crowd so much it was like they were coming through the TV. Bridgestone and Smashville were rocking like never before as everyone celebrated the improbable comeback. Filip Forsberg was named the #1 Star. The crowd was still buzzing as he had this interview with Lyndsay Rowley. Listen to what he says about the crowd:
There is no doubt that a crowd can help a team gain intensity grab some energy but last night went to a whole new level. It was as if the Predators faithful just took the game over and pushed the Predators to victory:
Several of the players and Coach Laviolette mentioned after the game how the crowd just took over and what an atmosphere it was to play in. Here is a quote from Pekka Rinne on the Predators website:
"“It happens time after time and you try not to take it for granted; it’s a great feeling when the crowd gets behind you and they really understand when we’re trying to get the momentum going,” Rinne said. “Especially after the first goal, they were really behind us. We tied the game and after that, [Vancouver] had nothing. We kept buzzing and they gave us a ton of energy, I totally believe in that. It was a great atmosphere and so happy we could get the wins for the fans, too.”"
In the end, it was a playoff atmosphere at the end of the game. There was that intensity that everyone draws from. These fans are going to be a lot of fun for the players to be in front of come playoff time.