The Nashville Predators won their first ever Game 7 and will face the San Jose Sharks in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Nashville Predators did it. This team was almost eliminated from the playoffs and flipped the script to win the series in seven games against the Anaheim Ducks.
Nashville controls their own destiny. Chicago is out. LA is out. If Nashville can beat San Jose, a team they beat 2-0-1 in the regular season, they will be looking good against a battered and bruised St. Louis or Dallas squad. But, you can not take your eyes off of San Jose. LA did and they lost the series 4-1.
Game 1 of the Semifinals is Friday night in San Jose. This should be as much fun as the series against the Ducks. Let’s look at why each team can and can’t win this series.
San Jose Sharks
#SMASHNASH is the battle cry for the San Jose Sharks this series. Seems as they are intimidated by the country bumpkins from Music City, Tennessee. I would be nervous too if I had to play a team I lost to in the regular season and was outscored by 10 to 5.
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San Jose, just like Nashville, was not picked by a lot of people to win their series. Los Angeles had won multiple Stanley Cups while San Jose had a history of bad playoff luck. LA has a high-powered offense fueled by an aggressive defense that San Jose bullied around to win the series. The San Jose Los Angeles match ups are always high scoring as the two rivals always bring their all once they meet on the ice. Against Nashville, it will be a completely different story.
The shots on goal will not be as high as the numbers in the hitting category. San Jose, just like the Predators, are one of the most physical teams in the entire NHL. It as if they are looking in a mirror at each other but Nashville has more scoring depth than the Sharks. San Jose will have their work cut out for them but so will Nashville.
San Jose does have a home-ice advantage but in this year in the playoffs, that does not mean anything. San Jose can easy bully around Nashville and win this series. It just does not seem like they will. By game time, the Sharks will have rested for a full week. That can make or break them.
The rest may have added rust, or it could have helped key players regain their health and strength. The Ducks thought they could have an easy outing against the Preds in Game 1 and Game 2 because Nashville had to travel. Nashville is already in San Jose and will be rested and prepped for the series.
The big concern for the Sharks is the traveling aspect. It is easier to go from Central to Pacific than Pacific to Central. With that being said, the Sharks have not left the state of California since April 5th and will now have to travel 1,939 miles. This should be fun.
They did it. The Nashville Predators not only won their first Game 7, they won a series where they held the top scorer, Corey Perry, without a goal for the entire series. Pekka Rinne stood on his head in the final game and made a lot of great saves to keep the Predators alive. Colin Wilson came out of the witness protection program and showed his true Playoff form by scoring two great goals that led the team to victory.
The Predators have had some bad playoff history with the San Jose Sharks in the past. Nashville is 0-2 in series against the Sharks in the playoffs but the mistakes made in those series are easily fixed this time around.
Nashville is fundamentally sound and will not take bad penalties. After all of the dirty plays the Ducks pulled, Nashville never once gave in and dropped the gloves. If Nashville can keep their head on a level field and play smart Nashville Predators hockey, they will be in the third round for the first time in franchise history.
On January 6th, the Nashville Predators traded Seth Jones for Ryan Johansen which could very well end up being as big as the Forsberg-Erat trade. At the time, Nashville was not in playoff contention. It seemed as if Nashville was just prepping for the 2016-2017 NHL season. Now, the Preds are one of the hottest and scariest teams in the NHL and if I was the San Jose Sharks, I would not want to play the Nashville Predators.
The team is clicking on all cylinders and is ready for any challenge you throw at them. The Preds not only have a strong first line but a great second and third line while the defense is the best in the league. Watch out everyone, Honkytonk Nashville, Tennessee is making some noise and it is time for the city and the 7th Man to #StandWithUs!
Confidence can make or break your season. After Game 6 against the Anaheim Ducks, the Nashville Predators posted a sign in their locker room stating, “Fly out to California at noon, pack for six days.” The Predators knew that they would win Game 7. The Predators also know that they will win this series. I personally enjoy the media looking down upon us. Keep it coming. You never pulled for us so don’t start now.
The Nashville Predators will win this series in five games. The series could also go to six, but five sounds just about right. Everyone is working as one and coming together as a well-rounded unit. If Filip Forsberg starts to light the lamp more than he did against Anaheim and the dreadful powerplay comes alive, it could be over in a hurry. Yes, Nashville did play against the best PK unit in the NHL against the Ducks, so 1-25 on the PP is not accepted anymore!
Our time is now Smashville. We are winners and it is time to show everyone else that we are. Shark week will be fun. Get some good nights rest and get ready, the playoffs are still around for at least another week, hopefully, more. You just have to keep believing.
C’mon Smashville, let’s get this done!