Folks, the Nashville Predators get a chance to raise their first ever banner tonight. Get excited, soak it in, and enjoy it. This stuff doesn’t happen every day.
The Anaheim Ducks
I don’t think there’s any doubt Anaheim came into Game 5 thinking the Predators were outmatched. Sixty minutes later and a 3-2 series deficit changes their outlook. Despite the crowd and the momentum for Nashville, the Ducks will come out strong with their backs against the wall.
But they won’t do it at full strength.
RC said Rickard Rakell and Patrick Eaves did not make the trip and won't play in Game 6.— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) May 21, 2017
Both forwards being out of lineup is significant. However, the questions surrounding the health of John Gibson will come to the forefront. After he was unable to finish Game 5 with an undisclosed injury, the Ducks go into an elimination game without a definite starter in the crease.
I tend to believe Gibson will due to the magnitude of the contest, and I think that’s good news for the Predators. A less than 100% goalie whose had his fair share of struggles in the playoffs is exactly what the doctor ordered as Nashville attempts to win the West.
What else is there to say about this team? With four regular forwards that included their top two centers, the Predators found a way to come out with a victory in Game 5.
Now, they earned a chance to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals (!!!) in front of the home fans. It’s an almost certainty they’ll deploy the same lineup from Saturday night, and they’ll need a pehaps even better performance from the group.
A great game from Pekka Rinne, Filip Forsberg creating chances all over the ice, and a likely unsung hero emerging is the recipe for success.
Reasons to Watch
- Who will step up? Pontus Aberg did his part as he scored the game-winning goal last time out. Freddy Gaudreau looked excellent in his playoff debut. The light will shine bright and someone should step in the spotlight.
- It’s not an exaggeration to wonder if the roof will stay intact inside Bridgestone Arena. The Smashville crowd has been applauded all playoffs long from the hockey world, and they’ll turn it up a notch Monday night.
- The video of Ryan Kesler on the ice postgame as he (hopefully) shakes hands and realizes his faint hopes as a Stanley Cup champion have come to a grinding halt.
Sights and Sounds
Puck drop is at 7 on NBCSN, streaming via their website, or on 102.5 FM The Game.