San Jose/Nashville - Game Seven: What To Watch For
Nashville's been here before. So has San Jose. Both know what it takes to win a game seven. Can the Preds get a win in the Shark Tank for the first time in franchise playoff history? Or will it be a San Jose/St. Louis match-up in the conference finals?
First goal will decide the game
122-42. Including last night's win for St. Louis, that's the record in game seven for teams that score the first goal.
A whopping 74.4 percent. Nashville added to that number last series with its win in Anaheim, scoring the first goal in that game.
Some have quipped back on social media that the team scoring the first goal isn't as important as the team who finishes with the most by the final horn, which is akin to saying that the person who crosses the finish line first will win the race. In all honesty, though, the Predators have struggled winning games in San Jose, even when taking the lead first.
So how will tonight's game be any different if Nashville records the first goal?
Momentum. Game seven, and the playoffs in general, are all about momentum. St. Louis grabbed that momentum and propelled itself to a 6-1 win inside a hostile American Airlines Center last night.
Whoever grabs the first marker tonight will be able to do the same.
How will the extra day of rest affect both teams?
San Jose has been accustomed to having some extra rest here and there, besting Los Angeles in five games then waiting around for Nashville to finish up against the Ducks.
The Predators, on the other hand, haven't had nearly as much rest as they'd like. In fact, they've been playing every other night since the playoffs started all the way back on April 15th.
The only day of rest? Tuesday in Nashville after Monday night's overtime win in game six. It's the only extra day that the Predators have been gifted so far, solely thanks to Selena Gomez and her concert at the SAP Center last night.
It'll be interesting to see how the extra day of rest works out for Nashville. Part of me believes it'll help re-energize a Predators team that sorely needed some time away from the rink.
Looking for a hero
Somebody will be the protagonist tonight for one of these two teams, and someone will be the antagonist.
Plenty of Predators fans may already have Mike Ribeiro penciled in for the latter, but if Monday's game was any indication as to how he'll play tonight, they may have to choose another villain to fill the same roll. On the opposite end, are Colin Wilson and Mike Fisher the only two heroes that the Predators employ?
Sure, Viktor Arvidsson scored the series-tying goal in overtime just two nights ago, but who else can stand up for the Predators? Filip Forsberg hasn't done much of anything yet and seems due to break out at some point. What better time than a game seven?
And for the Sharks, you just have a sense that Joel Ward, hero of game one, will factor into any heroics for San Jose if they end up on top. Most likely, you'll see noted Pred-killer Patrick Marleau in there as well.
There are quite a few to choose from tonight. Who do you think earns the title of hero?