Tonight's battle doesn't need much introduction. We know the lineups, the goalies, and each team knows what the other brings to the table. For the Predators, the goal is simple: win two games. Lose tonight, and we're left wondering just what went wrong in a season that as it progressed expectations went higher and higher. No one wants that. A win sends us back to Chicago, where Nashville won once and had another game firmly in their hands only to see it slip away.
We know the team is capable of gutting it out. Recall the streak in November, where Nashville beat San Jose and New Jersey back to back, or March when the Predators topped the Kings and Flyers in succession. Playoff teams all four, thats just an example of how the Predators have dealt with adversity or tough opposition. Perhaps the most memorable moment, though, was the horrific loss to San Jose and subsequent six game winning streak.
They'll need everyone's best game tonight. From Pekka Rinne to Jason Arnott (zero points in five games-something has to give) to Joel Ward to Nick Spaling, there's no excuse for anyone not showing up. While I admit it'd be wonderful to see Marian Hossa trucked by Shea Weber, now isn't the time for retaliation. If Nashville ever thought themselves a contender, thought that just maybe this was a year to prove their mettle, this is their time.
At 8 o'clock central standard time, questions will be answered.