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Nashville Predators vs. Pittsburgh Penguins Preview: Game 6

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The Predators are looking to stave off elimination and force a game 7 tonight in Bridgestone Arena.

2017 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Four Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Lord Stanley’s Cup will be inside Bridgestone Arena tonight, and the Nashville Predators are going to do their best to prevent it from being awarded.

After defeating the Predators soundly by a scoreline of 6-0 in game 5, the Pittsburgh Penguins will have a chance to hoist the Stanley Cup tonight with a win. With the series 3-2 in their favor, the Predators are looking instead to play one more game after tonight back in the Steel City.

This is the biggest sporting event hosted by Tennessee in the state’s history. No matter what happens tonight, Smashville needs to stand as one and do everything they can to give the Predators the boost they need to win tonight.

The Pittsburgh Penguins

Before game 5, I assumed that Gary Bettman would get the loudest boo’s in Bridgestone Arena should he award the cup after game six.

Sidney Crosby as thoroughly overtaken Bettman’s spot.

En route to a dominating 6-0 win with no less than three assists by Sidney Crosby, he managed to show both sides of himself. Sidney “The Most Talented Player in the World” Crosby put on a masterpiece, using his speed and unparalleled (soon, McDavid) vision to create opportunity after opportunity for the Penguins. There was no better player on the ice, and there never is.

Nevertheless, Sidney Crosby also reminded the hockey world why he’s so hated. It’s not that he’s the most talented player as to why he’s hated, it’s because, despite all his talent, he stoops to lows reserved for the likes of Sean Avery and Raffi Torres. Unlike them, Crosby gets away with it.

Be it overhand throwing a water bottle at Mattias Ekholm during play, uzi-punching P.K. Subban in the back of the head while he lies on the ice, chopping Marc Methot’s finger in half, spearing Ryan O’Reilly in the jewels... well, the list goes on.

It’s unfortunate because he really is remarkable to watch on the ice 90% of the time, but his shenanigans make that extremely difficult to do. He should expect less than warm southern hospitality tonight in Bridgestone.

The Nashville Predators

Game 5 was bad. Very, very bad. The Predators failed to execute any single facet of play and were blown out of PPG Paints Arena by the Penguins.

Thankfully, with two days between contests instead of just one, there is time for that negative momentum to regress and for the Predators to refocus on winning their next hockey game. Hopefully, it has also given defenseman Ryan Ellis time to recover from an apparent injury in game 5. Thankfully, he was on the ice well before today’s optional skate.

Unfortunately, he did not stay on the ice for the optional skate and looked limited, not being able to put much power into his shot. If Ellis is unable to play, we could see either Anthony Bitetto or Alexandre Carrier make their Stanley Cup Finals debut.

There should be no doubt who is in the crease tonight. While Pekka Rinne has been shelled in Pittsburgh twice (nearly every goal in game two was the fault of blown coverage so I don’t fault him for that performance), he has been the best Predator these playoffs.

The golden boys will need all the support that they can get tonight. No matter the score, spur them on Smashville.

Sights and Sounds

If you can’t make it to the game or the viewing party downtown, the game will be televised on NBC. Alternatively, you can tune in to 102.5 for the radio broadcast. Puck drops at 7:00ct.