With the series tied at two games each, the Nashville Predators have the opportunity to gain control. It will take an epic effort.
Coming into this series, the talk centered on the two teams being the best in the NHL. It was to be the best series of the playoffs. It has not disappointed. Sure, there have been disappointing moments for the Nashville Predators, namely Game 3. After leading by multiple goals, the Predators fell apart. However, they returned to their winning ways in Game 4 by playing strong defense. P.K. Subban played his best game of the playoffs and Pekka Rinne showed why he is a Vezina finalist.
Now, the series returns to Nashville with teams looking to take control. The winner of the game tonight gains a strong hold on the final outcome. The Predators have not lead the series, falling in the opening games at home and on the road. Each time, they battled back to tie the series. The Jets are a strong team. Their offensive capabilities are as explosive as any other in the NHL.
No matter what happens tonight, the series will return to Winnipeg. A Game 5 win puts the Predators in position to move on to their second consecutive Western Conference Final. They are the only team to win in Winnipeg since late February. First, they need to take care of business tonight.
The Predators made significant lineup changes in Game 4. It is what helped them win. Scott Hartnell‘s physical play and energy provided a spark the team needed. He helped neutralize Daniel Byfuglien. It was a bold move, putting the grizzled veteran in and removing Game 2 hero Kevin Fiala. It worked.
Additionally, Peter Laviolette removed Calle Jarnkrok in favor of Ryan Hartman. It led to a CorsiFor rating of 70 and the lone 5v5 goal of the game for either team. Lastly, Yannick Weber played in place of Alexei Emelin. While he only played for 8 minutes, Weber energy was noticeable. What does tonight hold?
Based on line work during morning skates, look for Fiala to return to the lineup. The rest looks similar to Game 4.
Mattias Ekholm – P.K. Subban
Matt Irwin – Yannick Weber
Where to watch
Tonight’s game from Bridgestone Arena is slated to start at 8:30 p.m. Central Time and will air on NBCSN. You can stream the game on the NBC sports app or listen on 102.5 The Game in Nashville.
Just like in Game 4, the Predators will need contributions from the bottom six forwards and the defensive unit. The top two lines continue to push the offense and provide quality chances. The Predators feed off this type of play, and it is why they can still win this series.