The Predators continue the Western Conference Quarterfinals in Nashville as they take on the Ducks in game 6 of the best of seven series. Nashville leads the series 3-2
Looking at the Ducks: Anaheim now feels what Nashville felt last season after the Predators Game 5 loss to Chicago in the first round: Disappointment. That’s what you feel when you let a game slip out of your hands with 40 seconds left to play and then get beat in overtime. However, Anaheim will be coming out in this game fighting for their playoff lives, as Nashville can counter-punch and take them out of the playoffs today. The Ducks will be getting Jarkko Ruutu back from his one-game suspension, however it shouldn’t make too much of a difference as you had better believe Anaheim will be firing on all cylinders tonight. If you think Anaheim has played an aggressive, hard-hitting game, it’s going to increase ten-fold tonight, but…will it be enough?
Looking at the Predators: A game 5 WIN. An overtime PLAYOFF win. Winning 3 games in a playoff series. All things the Predators had never done in their post-season history until Friday night. Nashville comes home to their rowdy, raucous, fan-base and what should be the LOUDEST the Bridgestone Arena has ever been when they host a possible series-clinching Game 6 tonight. The Predators received what had to be playoff-best performances by both Jon Blum and Jordin Tootoo, two names you would never expect to hear that about. Blum, who wasn’t a HUGE factor offensively, stole pucks consistently from Anaheim’s top line, a feat that many defensemen can’t claim. Tootoo was the Ron Francis that the Predators needed, feeding the puck TWICE on two very important goals: One to always-troubled defenseman Kevin Klein, and the other for the game-winning goal to Jerred Smithson in overtime. How are teams successful in the playoffs? By everyone buying into the system and contributing. Right now, Nashville is getting such success, however it’ll be interesting to see WHICH team comes out Sunday night.
For the Ducks to win: PLAY LIKE THIS IS YOUR LAST GAME OF THE SEASON. Anaheim needs to come out hitting people and shooting the puck. They will need lots of traffic in front of Pekka Rinne and ANYTIME a Ducks player touches the puck in the offensive zone, they need to shoot. However, I think the most important part, is that Anaheim needs to play a CLEAN game. Corey Perry, for all of the questionable plays he has been a part of this series, NEEDS to play a clean game. I have a feeling if he doesn’t and the game starts to slip away from Anaheim, that Nashville will start to take some liberties they haven’t taken before
For the Predators to win: 60 MINUTES. Of all the games that Nashville has ever needed to play a full 60 minutes, this would be the one. Nashville did so Friday night as well, and it showed. If the Predators can play 60 minutes of hockey, feed off the energy from what will be the LOUDEST-ever crowd at Bridgestone Arena, and stay out of the penalty box, you can only think good things will happen for Nashville. However, we all remember Game 4. Nashville needs to have a short memory and be slamming their palms on the “reset” button.
Prediction: 4-1 Nashville. The Predators have never had an opportunity to close a series out in front of their own fans, but you know they want to cash in on it. Nashville sends it’s team and it’s fans to the second round and does so in decisive fashion. The Nashville Predator faithful will finally get their wish
BEST OF SEVEN Record: 3-2, Nashville leads
OTHER GAMES OF INTEREST:
WCQF Game 4 – #1 Vancouver at #8 Chicago: VAN Leads 3-2, 7:30pm EST
ECQF Game 4 – #2 Philadelphia at #7 Buffalo: BUF Leads 3-2, 3:00pm EST
Thanks for reading!