The Nashville Predators, for the third time this postseason, squandered the chance to win a game at Bridgestone Arena, dropping their postseason home record to 3-3 in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. To make matters worse, they are now on the brink of elimination for the first time since Game 6 of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final.
Last night, the game started out alright for the Preds. They were the team getting the vast majority of the high danger chances early on, including a Turris shot that went off the post. Despite all of the first period opportunities, the game was scoreless heading to the first intermission.
The first goal of the game seemed to come off of a Patrik Laine snipe, but other angles showed that it bounced off of Paul Stastny’s glove and in on a shot that would’ve probably gone very wide.
A few minutes later, Yannick Weber, who had just made one of the better saves this postseason, tied the game up at 1-1 on an unassisted, top shelf snipe.
And this is where it all went wrong.
First, Kyle Connor scored a go-ahead goal after sending two rebounds into a fallen Rinne’s pads. Then, Dustin Byfuglien scored the eventual game-winning goal on a shot from the blueline that, well, let’s just say the line of Preds didn’t help Pekka see it.
all the traffic was four Preds standing in a row. no chance for Rinne to see this puck. pic.twitter.com/poDbRv2LER— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) May 6, 2018
Then, Kyle Connor scored his second of the game to give the Jets a 4-1 lead and the home team was really in a bad place.
Late in the second period, a Viktor Arvidsson penalty gave the Jets the first power play of the night. Ryan Johansen scored a nice shorthanded goal by faking a pass and then shooting it through Hellebuyck to minimize the second period damage.
Unfortunately, the Jets scored 28 seconds into the third to give them a 5-2 lead. Mark Scheifele. The Preds tried their best to claw back into that game, but Ryan Hartman took a bad interference penalty, and Mathieu Perreault scored on the power play to extend the lead to 6-2. And at that point the game was all but over.
The even strength high danger chances were fairly even in this one—9 for the Jets, 8 for the Preds—but while the Jets capitalized on their chances...
... the Preds did not.
That was the difference in this one.
It comes down to Monday. No more home ice advantage, no more time to fix whatever is wrong with the defense. If the Preds can string together 6 periods like the first period last night, there is a good chance that this series is theirs. If not, the Jets will be the ones moving on to face Vegas or San Jose.