Nashville Predators: How They Got to Game 7 With Winnipeg

WINNIPEG, MB - MAY 7: Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck #37 of the Winnipeg Jets makes a glove save on Craig Smith #15 of the Nashville Predators during second period action in Game Six of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell MTS Place on May 7, 2018 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images)
WINNIPEG, MB - MAY 7: Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck #37 of the Winnipeg Jets makes a glove save on Craig Smith #15 of the Nashville Predators during second period action in Game Six of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell MTS Place on May 7, 2018 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Predators collapse in 2nd period

I can’t think of a more epic playoff game meltdown from the Predators than this game. That’s me going back to the early days when they weren’t expected to go very far. It still frustrates me, even though they’re weathering the storm. They shouldn’t have to if they could have avoided this massive brain cramp.

Ryan Ellisquote after this game is what leaders do. They call out their team when there’s a need for one:

"We just stopped playing, That was clear as day. I think you could see that. You can’t win hockey [games] when you stop playing midway through the second.”"

It’s not what you want to hear, but at least there was accountability. These men are humans, not robots. They screw up, have lapses and are up against another great team. This quote was refreshing, and speaks volumes to Ellis’ leadership qualities.

As for the awful second period, it’s like a tidal wave. The Predators are cruising, and the Winnipeg fans are silent. My theory is the Predators just got comfortable. They took a deep breathe way too soon against a dangerous team. That dangerous team made them pay a hefty price for that. The crazy thing is, the Predators still nearly won it on a Viktor Arvidsson breakaway. Again, Hellybuyck was just better after a horrendous first period from his team.

When you take a loss like this, you wonder if the Predators have enough mental toughness to fight back in Game 4. As bad as this loss was, it still counts as just one loss. It’s first to four wins, not two. If the Predators kept that mentality and stayed confident, I was optimistic they could fight back for home-ice advantage.