VANCOUVER, CANADA - MAY 7: Joel Ward #29 celebrates with Shea Weber #6 of the Nashville Predators after scoring a goal against the Vancouver Canucks during the third period in Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 07, 2011 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
This has been a Nashville Predators team unlike any other, so hopefully they can buck the franchise trend as they face elimination tomorrow night at Phoenix in Game Five. In previous playoff runs, the Preds have put up a 1-6 record when on the ropes.
Follow after the jump as we walk through the Preds' history with their backs up against the wall...
April 17, 2004: Nashville's first trip to the playoffs paired them up with the Detroit Red Wings, and the Preds gave a good accounting for themselves. After dropping the first two games of the series at Joe Louis Arena, the Predators responded with two wins on home ice. They lost Game 5 at Detroit by a 4-1 score, pushing them to the brink when they returned home for Game Six, in which they fell 2-0.
April 30, 2006: The Predators came back after the Great Lockout and put together a 106-point season, earning the #4 seed in the West and home-ice advantage over the San Jose Sharks. After taking the opening game of the series 4-3, the wheels came off Nashville's wagon, The Sharks won Game Two, then took Games 3 & 4 back in San Jose, before coming back to Nashville to finish off the Preds in Game 5 by a 2-1 score.
April 20, 2007: Nashville's best regular-season team (110 points) was hamstrung by injuries to several key players, leading to a repeat five-game loss to the San Jose Sharks. The final contest took place once again in Nashville, where the Preds succumbed 3-2.
April 20, 2008: After having made an improbable run just to make the playoffs after the Great Fire Sale and franchise sale of 2007, the Predators found themselves matched up once again with the Red Wings. This one played out very similarly to 2004, with Detroit taking the 2-0 lead at home, and the Preds fighting back to make it 2-2, before the Red Wings pulled away. In Game Six the Predators had their last chance, again in front of the home fans, and went down to defeat 3-0. Right on cue, elements of the media pounced on the franchise's woes.
April 26, 2010: The Preds and their fans took a collective punch in the gut in the horrific Game Five loss at Chicago, which set up a Game Six elimination in Nashville. The Preds came back from a 3-1 deficit to tie this game and ignite the home crowd, but the good vibes last just 24 seconds before Jonathan Toews scored what would ultimately be the winning goal as the Blackhawks moved on, 5-3.
May 7, 2011: Finally, a victory! The Preds were riding a wave of confidence after earning their first playoff series win over Anaheim, and gave Vancouver a genuine fight in the second round. They did fall behind 3-1, however, which pushed the Predators to the brink in Game 5 at Vancouver. Two goals each from David Legwand and Joel Ward saved the day, however, as the Preds kept hope alive.
May 9, 2011: Returning home for a Game Six, the Predators had fans buzzing with the hope that if they could eke out a win at Bridgestone Arena, anything might be possible. The Canucks took a 2-0 lead in the first period, however, and hung on for a 2-1 win which finished off Nashville's best playoff run to date.
So how will the next chapter in this tale be written? Like I said, this team is quite unlike previous editions of the Preds, so therein lies the hope that this 1-6 record can be overcome.