The Anaheim Ducks
Let's face it. On any given night you could put money on the Ducks winning against the Predators and you would probably come out with a bit of money. They are bigger, more skilled, and have much more reliable goaltending. They are one of those teams that analysts drool over as a Stanley Cup pick.
That, however, is on any given night. This is the Stanley Cup Playoffs and this is game 7 and anything can happen. The big question for tonight is how will the Ducks will respond after not being able to close out game 6 against the Predators. Will they begin to doubt themselves and grip their sticks tighter or will they feed off their home crowd and complete the task?
History would seem to suggest that they could run into a problem. In fact, the Ducks have let 3-2 series leads slip away in their past three playoffs. In 2013 it was the Detroit Red Wings, in 2014 it was the Los Angeles Kings, and in 2015 it was the Chicago Blackhawks. Let's increase that streak to four, shall we Nashville?
The Nashville Predators
The Nashville Predators organization has yet to see a game 7. For fans, this will be a new level of excitement and anxiety. For the players, game 7 experience may be overrated but they are definitely not lacking in that department, according to Adam Vingan.
Predators player to have played in a Game 7: Ribeiro (3), Fisher/Neal/Gaustad (2), Jackman/Nystrom (1).— Adam Vingan (@AdamVingan) April 26, 2016
At the very least, the veterans may be able to impart a bit of helpful advice for the more inexperienced. In return, maybe some of the younger European players can give James Neal some advice on how to dress.
In all seriousness, tonight is either the end of the Predators season or the start of at least a two round playoff run. I don't know about you all but I'm tired of seeing this team bow out of the playoffs in the first two rounds. I'm quite ready to see them get past the Ducks and the Sharks and make it to the Conference finals. We all have been pretty patient but now it's time for the Predators to go big or go home and it all could start with this game 7. GO PREDS!