Anaheim/Nashville - Game Seven: What To Watch For
Again, it's do or die for Nashville tonight. Will it be "Do you know the way to San Jose" or will the Predators be leaving on a jet plane back to the Music City?
Control the game
From the opening puck drop, Nashville has to assert itself quickly into the game and control the pace of action on both sides of the ice.
This will be the most difficult playoff game the Predators have ever played in. Anaheim will be firing everything they can to knock Rinne off his game and put one or two past him early to try and sway momentum. If the Predators can hold the Ducks at bay early and swing momentum to their side instead, it could be more than enough to push them to a game seven victory in front of a hostile crowd.
If Nashville can't control and dictate the pace of the action, especially so during the first handful of minutes during the first period, it may not be a great night for the Predators.
Pekka Rinne needs to be perfect
Game six was one of the best playoff performances of Rinne's career. He'll need to be even better than that tonight for Nashville to advance to the second round.
One of the biggest harps on Rinne throughout his playing time has been his mild weakness concerning his blocker and five-hole, which have both been exploited a time or two this series. Even though Anaheim's only goal during game six came off a puck that Rinne should have had stopped between his legs, every other facet of his game was perfect.
Glove saves? Check. Blocker saves? Check. Pad saves? just ask Corey Perry.
I sense that, if the Predators get up a goal or two in this game, the barrage of shots and traffic towards Rinne will be unimaginable.
Either way, Rinne will be tested early and often. If he falters, Nashville will have trouble recovering.
Be prepared for a thrilling end
Do you enjoy sitting on the edge of your seat with a clear inability to breathe due to high levels of sports-related stress?
Well do I have something for you to watch tonight.
Game seven's in any sport are one of the most entertaining things to watch. Hockey's version takes the cake.
It's going to be a high-paced game this evening between Anaheim and Nashville and tighter than any previous game so far in the series. There won't likely be a flurry of goals for one team and a lopsided defeat, but more a one-goal victory coming off some crazy type of bounce.
That's just how it happens. It'll happen again tonight.
One team will go home absolutely dejected, the other will move on. Either way, it promises be one of the most entertaining games in Nashville's playoff history.
But which side of history will they be on?