The Nashville Predators look to tie the series in Game 4 after a Game 3 victory.
The Nashville Predators seem to have figured out Martin Jones. The goaltender seemed unbreakable for Game 1 and 2 but collapsed in Game 3. The glove side worked to the advantage of all four goals scored and a good scoring attempt by defenseman Roman Josi almost made it five on the glove side.
Martin Jones has been a good goaltender all season so Nashville may have to look for other areas of the net come Game 4.
Jared Stillman is a sports broadcaster for 102.5 The Game here in Nashville. He coined the term “The Colin Wilson witness protection program,” earlier this season when no one could seem to find Mr. Wilson. Now that it is May and playoff time in Nashville, Colin Wilson is back and Mike Ribeiro is nowhere to be found. Yes, the second line center Mike Ribeiro is missing.
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Ribeiro sits through 9 games with one point and a -3 plus-minus with six penalty minutes. Coach Lavy was not afraid to pull the trigger and rest a savvy vet for a rookie so Pontus Aberg made his NHL debut in the Semifinals of the Western Conference Playoffs. Welcome to the NHL.
Nashville won Game 3 by a score of 4-1, but we will have to see if Nashville can keep it going in Game 4 and if Mike Ribeiro will be on the ice to contribute or not.
San Jose Sharks
The San Jose Sharks looked flat in Game 3. The Nashville Predators out worked and outmanned the Sharks all night long. The biggest turning point came when Preds defenseman Tony Bitetto took a hit on Big Joe Thornton which started a scrum in center ice. That hit from a young rookie on a popular vet showed that Nashville is not intimidated by the Sharks and will not be pushed around.
"“We were the best road team in the NHL all year, and I like our spot,” DeBoer said to sharks.nhl.com.”This isn’t going to be easy. Nashville beat an excellent Anaheim team, a team that many people picked to win the Stanley Cup, so they obviously have a lot of quality things happening there. So, we knew this wasn’t going to be easy going in, but again, we are three games in and we are up 2-1. We are confident, and we are comfortable on the road.“"
All that depends on how the team shows up on the ice Game 4. If San Jose can get their big men going and smack the Predators around, they will be flying home with a 3-1 series lead. If Nashville can come out hot earlier it will be a long 60 minutes for the Sharks.
This is not your father’s San Jose Sharks. This is not the same Sharks team that gets pushed around in the Playoffs. Will they bounce back and win the series behind Pavelski, Thornton, Burns and Couture or will the see another playoff series slip through their fingers. Only time can tell.
The Nashville Predators, in the 7th Man’s eyes, have outplayed the Sharks every game this series but have been on the wrong side of the bounces all series. Who knows maybe the black cat in San Jose, named Joe Paw-velski, cursed the Preds. Well, Gnash seemed to have reversed the curse because even though the Predators are down 2-1 in the series, it seems as they have a lot of the control.
Nashville has been trying to establish the perfect offensive-zone time and may have found that with the new formula that worked in Game 3. Mike Ribeiro was scratched after some difficulties in the previous nine playoff games. Maybe the benching of Ribs was the spark that team needed. The Real Deal James Neal, Filip Forsberg, Colin Wilson and the Mark Messier Award nominee Shea Weber all came alive and pushed Nashville to that 4-1 victory.
Nashville will look to keep the magic going into Game 4 by keeping the puck on the sticks of guys like Josi (7 assists), Wilson (3g, 5a) and Mike Fisher who is on a three-game point streak. Nashville has not lost a game in regulation to the Sharks in Bridgestone Arena since Feb. 25, 2012. Nashville is going to have to keep that streak alive because losing Game 4 is not an option.
The Predators have been focused on Game 4 since Game 3 ended. This game will be loud and physical. The outcome of Game 4 can very well dictate the series seeing as Nashville has never won a playoff game in San Jose. Nashville cannot fly back to the west coast down 3-1.
Game 4 should have all the bells and whistles. There may even be a fight but who knows. James Neal tried having the Preds first fight of the postseason but Joe Pavelski wasn’t up for the tilt. Nashville will win the game 3-2 in OT. I know OT is probably not what the fans wanted to hear but I believe the series is due for an an OT game.
If Nashville can keep the powerplay going like they did in Game 3 going 2-5 then they should start to get the upper hand in the series. The Preds are a great team and just because they are down, doesn’t mean they are out of the playoffs. Bridgestone Arena is one of the loudest arenas in the NHL and will be rocking Thursday night. The players feed off the crowd so the 7th Man must be in full voice for the game.
It’s time to tie up the series. This year is our year and we cannot stop fighting until the job is done. C’mon Smashville!