Momentum Is Real and the Nashville Predators Have It for Game 6 at Home

The Predators have winds in their sails and science backing them up as the 1st Round series against Canucks shifts back to Nashville.
Nashville Predators v Vancouver Canucks - Game Five
Nashville Predators v Vancouver Canucks - Game Five / Derek Cain/GettyImages

The Nashville Predators have battled the Vancouver Canucks in their playoff series admirably. It is even arguable that the Predators have won the majority of "minutes" played in the series. Yet despite this, the Canucks are currently winning the series 3-2.

The Predators won the most recent game, staving off elimination for now. It can also be argued that now the Predators have secured the momentum advantage going forward in the series.

Momentum is a funny thing. Some people claim it doesn't exist. Those people are clearly not sports fans. Hockey is a momentum-based sport, where the action can be titled to one end, but a surviving team that can weather the barrage seems to emerge with all the power in the game.

Scientifically, athletic momentum exists. Here's a quote from a study done on athletes.

"As hypothesized, athletes who had developed long-term positive PM after two successful races were less sensitive to a negative momentum scenario in the third race, compared to athletes who had developed long-term negative PM after two unsuccessful races. More specifically, the exerted efforts, perceptions of momentum, and self-efficacy were higher for participants who had developed long-term positive PM, and their perceptions of momentum and self-efficacy decreased less rapidly.These results illustrate a typical complex dynamical systems property, namely interconnected time scales, and provide deeper insights into the dynamical nature of PM."

Den Hartigh, R. J. R., Van Geert, P. L.

So, this essentially says that athletes who did better, recovered from negative effects and impacts than ones who didn't have great starts or early performances. This should be good news for the Predators.

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Preds let GM4 slip away, but reclaimed momentum in GM5

Clearly, Game 4 could be used as an example. The Predators played an excellent game and had the Canucks on the ropes. Colton Sissons was inches (or centimeters for you metric heads) from tying the series and throwing the momentum totally in the Predators' favor. Instead, it turned into a loss that could've been utterly backbreaking. Yet, it was coming off of a previous Predators win in Game 2, and a Game 3 where the Predators outplayed the Canucks despite losing.

With the Predators coming back to win in Game 5, you can all but guarantee that they have gained momentum in the series, and with a home crowd at their back for Game 6, expectations should be high.

This same principle can likely be applied to the players on the Predators as well. When looking at the stats and breaking down the past performances across the series, you could theorize that a player like Alexandre Carrier is entering a hot streak based on his recent performances.

It also makes perfect sense as to how Filip Forsberg has been able to sustain a season of incredible hockey, and it has carried over into the playoffs. Gustav Nyquist is also been able to show tremendous consistency and has been an example how momentum might be working in the favor of the Predators.

There is reason for optimism as the Predators head into Game 6, and a reason to have faith in the attempted comeback. If they can pull it off, it will be their first trip past the 1st Round in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2018, and only the sixth time in their 25-year history.