The Nashville Predators Have Already Faced Elimination Twice This Postseason And Survived. Can They Do It Again?
Once again the Nashville Predators have found themselves with their backs against the wall and on the brink of elimination after a disappointing Game 5 loss in San Jose. There’s no sugar-coating the loss either, the Sharks owned the game as soon as the puck dropped and buried the Predators 5-1.
Nashville looked exhausted and rightfully so after winning Game 4 in triple overtime and now have to defeat a powerful Sharks team that seems to have figured out their post-season woes and are determined to return to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2011.
In stark contrast to our first round matchup with he Ducks, home ice has actually been an advantage this series with both the Predators and Sharks remaining undefeated at home after five games.
The Sharks were the best road team in the NHL this season but have struggled to defeat the Predators at Bridgestone over the last few years. With elimination on the line and what is sure to be a packed house full of gold wearing, loud, and hostile fans that will do their part to cheer their team on to another Game 7 the Sharks will have their work cut out for themselves.
As much of an advantage it is for the Predators to play at home in Nashville they will still need to have another stellar performance to send the series back to San Jose. The Sharks are getting goals from their big name players like Joe Pavelski and Patrick Marleau or Brent Burns and Logan Couture while the Predators top scorers are struggling to appear in the goal column when their team needs them the most.
Predators Goal Scorers In Round 2
- Mike Fisher – 4
- James Neal – 2
- Ryan Johansen – 2
- Colin Wilson – 2
- Filip Forsberg – 1
- Mattias Ekholm – 1
- Shea Weber – 1
In the absence of Mike Ribeiro, who was benched for both Games 3 and 4, Mike Fisher has stepped up as the number two center for the team and has performed tremendously this entire series. After him though the Nashville Predators are struggling to find guys who can puck the puck in the back of the net with any kind of consistency.
If the Predators are going to win this game and hopefully this series, then they’re going to need more goal support from elsewhere in the lineup. Pekka Rinne has been sensational thus far but can only carry the team for so long.
It is worth mentioning that the Rinne has a perfect 5-0 record this postseason when the Predators score at least 3 goals and an uninspiring 1-6 record when they score 2 goals or less.
Who Will Be The Hero In Game 6?
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So who will answer the challenge tonight in Nashville? In their last Game 6, the Predators responded with a dominant 3-1 win over the Ducks as they seemed to thrive under the pressure of possibly being eliminated and then sealed the series with another inspiring 2-1 victory in Game 7. So who will rise to the occasion this time around?
My choice is Roman Josi. The Swiss sensation has played well so far this postseason with 8 assists but just can’t seem to find the back of the net and it’s not for lack of trying. Josi’s 36 shots on goal are good enough for second-most on the team behind James Neal’s 42.
Josi had a career year for himself and the franchise in the regular season and potted 14 goals along the way. The talent is there and it’s only a matter of time before he is rewarded with a goal as he continues to fire away and considering the Predators are down 3-2 in the series tonight would be the ideal time for him to start scoring.
The Predators know what is on the line tonight. This is a different team than we’ve seen in years past and they will give everything they can to win this game in front of their own fans. I’m predicting a big 4-2 win for Nashville as the Sharks get sent back to San Jose for a climatic showdown in Game 7 after Roman Josi gets his first goal of the playoffs. Let’s go Predators!