Nashville Predators: A trip to the Western Conference Finals on the line

(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

The Nashville Predators’ second-round series has been filled with excitement and stress. Now, it is time to finish the Jets and move on.

Who could have asked for more? The two best teams by record in the NHL facing off in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Both with All-Star caliber players and Vezina Trophy finalists. Each team winning two games on the road in the series. Five games totally 42 goals in the regular season moved to six games and 40 goals. Now, the Nashville Predators host their first Game 7 at home in franchise history.

Thanks to the Predators winning the Presidents’ Trophy.

The series could not be closer. The Predators have 217 total shots while the Jets have 213. During 5v5 play, Nashville has one more goal (12-11), eight more scoring chances (165-157), and one fewer high danger chances (65-66). The Predators have excelled obtaining goals during those high-danger opportunities.

Much talk has centered around the play of Pekka Rinne struggling during this series. However, his high-danger save percentage is 89.39% while Connor Hellebuyck is only 84.62. In total, Rinne trails his counterpart by only 3 goals allowed and .2% in saves during the playoffs.

In terms of scoring, the Predators top line has provided the spark. Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen both have 8 total points, including three goals each. Linemate Viktor Arvidsson has three goals and three assists. However, neither Ryan Ellis or Roman Josi have scored a goal. Josi’s two assists in Game 6 proved important, but assists are all he tallied this postseason. The same can be said for Ellis, who has one of the most lethal slapshots in the NHL.

It is time for the two defensemen to unleash their powers.

Projected Lineup

The Nashville Predators held practice on Wednesday and an optional skate on Thursday. Mike Fisher was absent from both, bringing to question his availability for Game 7. Fisher left Game 6 during the first period and never returned. Matt Irwin appeared to be hurt during practice yesterday, leaving Alexei Emelin to fill in. Emelin last played in Game 4.

While the goals have been few, Kevin Fiala leads the team in high-danger chances created and trails Forsberg in expected goals for. Fiala has been aggressive all series and looks to continue that trend tonight.


Filip Forsberg – Ryan Johansen – Viktor Arvidsson

Kevin Fiala – Kyle Turris – Craig Smith

Colton Sissons – Nick Bonino – Austin Watson

Scott Hartnell – Calle Jarnkrok – Ryan Hartman


Roman Josi – Ryan Ellis

Mattias Ekholm – P.K. Subban

Matt Irwin / Alexei Emelin – Yannick Weber


Pekka Rinne

Juuse Saros

Next: How we got to Game 7

Where to watch

Game 7 tonight in Nashville is the only NHL action tonight. The broadcast begins at 7:00 p.m. Central and air on NBCSN. You can also listen to the action on 102.5 The Game in Nashville.