Tonight brings us Game 5 in Bridgestone Arena. It’s going to be loud and rowdy and absolutely perfect. The series is tied at 2, and these next 2-3 games are sure to be fast, heavy-hitting, and pretty emotional.
The Nashville Predators
Pekka Rinne stood tall on Thursday with the help of his boys in gold. Never again will I question the lineup changes brought forth by Coach Peter Laviolette. He swapped Scott Hartnell for Kevin Fiala and Hartnell brought some hits, some great passes, and some shots on net. He was on a mission.
[Editor’s note: the Preds website is reporting that Kevin Fiala might return to the lineup,
The Preds are having a morning skate this morning, so be sure to check out lineup changes.
Yannick Weber and Matt Irwin were solid on Thursday, and it’s likely we’ve seen the last of Alexei Emelin in the playoffs. Emelin can lay down some big hits, but the third pairing does not necessarily need to be responsible for hitting. I think we’d all much prefer them to get the puck out of the Preds’ zone.
The Winnipeg Jets
The Jets will be looking to steal another game in Nashville tonight. Much like Colorado in Game 5, they won’t just roll over and give up. They have just as much of a chance to win the series as Nashville does at this point, and tonight’s game is sure to be full of action.
Mathieu Perreault could return for the Jets tonight. Matt Hendricks would likely come out of the lineup for Perrault. Again, check Twitter for what the morning skate lines look like for Winnipeg.
Patrik Laine finally got a goal past Pekka Rinne on Thursday. He scored from his left-circle “office,” but Winnipeg could not add another to tie the game late.
Finally, I’d fully expect Winnipeg to adjust to Nashville’s trap system. They will have done their homework.
Reasons to Watch
-Will we see the return of Pekka’s knob?
-Will we see more excellent defense? (PLEASE????)
-Can the Predators limit high-danger chances in front of Pekka while putting some big shots on Connor Hellebuyck?
Tonight’s Theme Song
There have been several mentions of the Predators’ successful use of the trap against Winnipeg in Thursday’s Game 4. There is no telling how Coach Laviolette will set up his team tonight or whether Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice will be able to re-align his troops for another attack. Here’s “it’s a trap!” and “Headstrong” by Trapt.
Tonight’s Beverage of Choice
Once again, I’ll be inside the Bridge where the beer and liquor selections are often very limited. However, I did pick up a bottle of Grinder’s Switch blackberry wine this week, and it’s my drink of choice for tonight’s rainy, steamy, “it’s almost summer in Nashville” game. P.S. Grinder’s Switch is a Tennessee wine. What could be better?
How to Watch
Tonight’s game is on NBC Sports, and puck drop will be a little after 8:30 Central tonight. 102.5 the Game has the radio call.
Rest up, Smashville. It’s gonna be a big one.