The spirit of Nashville Predators’ fan took a huge blow after the Game 5 loss. But, the series is not over and the possible triumph would be sweet.
Saturday night did not go well. Any way you look at it, the conclusion is the same. Fans showed up to Smashville early, flooding the streets with gold jerseys, t-shirts, and hats. The busy weekend for me included dinner at a highly-rated restaurant close to Bridgestone area. We were one of the few not donning the attire of the Nashville Predators as we choose to dress-up for the occasion. But, that is beside the point.
From even before the puck dropped, the nervous energy was palpable. The stress of the stage infected even the most well-trained performers in the opening ceremonies. The fans, pregnant with excitement, were on the edge of their seats ready for the game to start. We were greeted with an opening period in which the Predators dominated. Shot after shot was fired at the Jets’ goalie, but none made it through. The first 20 minutes ended and the Predators showed their aggressiveness on both sides of the ice.
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The rest we would like to forget.
The Jets came out firing, flying across the ice with ease. They maneuvered the puck with skill. The Predators provided little resistance. Winnipeg scored first, then the Predators. And, just like we have witnessed all season, Nashville allowed a quick response from their opponent. From that point on, the battle was won by the Jets.
They now lead 3-2, are filled with confidence and return home with a chance to clinch the series.
It ain’t over
So, you are telling me there is a chance? The odds may not be in the Nashville Predators’ favor, but they can still win the series. According to Hockey-Reference, when the series is tied at 2-2, the series goes to seven games 40% of the time. The road team wins 39.2% of Game 6’s of a 3-2 series. Furthermore, teams facing elimination in Game 6 win 47.5% of the time. These numbers are much closer than one might think.
Now, the way the Predators played in Game 5 (and for much of the playoffs, honestly), they have little chance to win. But, we witnessed their backs against the wall in Game 4 and the full-team effort they deployed on the road. Nashville is 2-2 on the road in Winnipeg this season, including playoffs. The Jets are the best home team, but the Predators are the best road team in the NHL. It will take a Herculean-effort, but it is not impossible.
The Predators bandwagon may be a bit lighter after Game 5, but those of us still on are here to stay. The odds are not great, but they mean nothing right now. All that matters is the fight left within the Predators. I have a feeling it is more than we know.