The Nashville Predators have done it again. They are the Western Conference Champions, sort of. Cue the banner jokes.
Since we have no real hockey to watch other than re-runs of classic games, we now have another outlet to satisfy our hockey fix. The Nashville Predators have been participating in the EA Sports NHL20 virtual playoffs.
For the uninitiated, the Stanley Cup playoff simulation started since the actual season pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic. NHL20 is being used to run the simulation games. We are now down to the Stanley Cup Finals.
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The Predators’ social media team has done an excellent job of keeping fans entertained with these playoffs.
While the games are going on, the social media team gives live updates when a team scores a goal just as they do during actual games.
They are doing everything they can to keep their fans engaged and to make these games feel like the real thing, even going so far as to present the keys to the game just like they do during real pre-game shows.
The Virtual Path To The Finals
The path to these virtual finals hasn’t been easy. The Predators’ first-round opponent was the Las Vegas Golden Knights. It took six games for the Predators to defeat them.
The Golden Knights may wind up being a first-round opponent in the actual playoffs this year.
Next up was the Vancouver Canucks. That series went to six games as well. The real battle took place in the next round.
The Predators’ Western Conference Finals opponent was the St. Louis Blues, a tough opponent in real life that the Predators swept in the regular season. This was the toughest test of these virtual playoffs.
The Blues took a 2-0 lead in the series. The Predators battled back and tied the series at 2-2. The Blues took the next game placing the Predators into a “win or go home” situation for game six. The Predators pulled out the win and tied the series forcing a game seven.
During game seven, the Predators had a 3-2 lead, but the Blues came back and tied it up in the second. The third period ended with no score, forcing overtime. Viktor Arvidsson scored the game-winning goal in overtime, and the Predators won 4-3.
Who’s Got Next?
The Predators opponent in the virtual Stanley Cup Finals will be the Philadelphia Flyers. The first game will be on June 2, and you will be able to watch it live on Fox Sports Tennessee.
These virtual games will air every Tuesday and Thursday until one team is victorious, and they hoist that big, beautiful, virtual cup.
In these tough times, it is good to know that the Predators care enough about their fans to hold these kinds of events and stay connected even when no actual games are happening.
With the announcement of the NHL’s Return To Play plan, we all look forward to seeing the Predators take the ice in the real world.
This team has the potential not only to take that Western Conference Finals trophy but the main prize as well; the Stanley Cup. When we do finally grab that cup, we will raise the real banner, and the jokes can end…but probably not.