There is not another NHL team who has had a tougher playoff run than the Predators. They lead the NHL in traveling miles, having traveled over 13,000 miles since April 13. That’s seven trips to and from California.
And if that’s not tough enough, they just finished the longest game in Nashville Predators history, but finished it off with their first ever overtime win at Bridgestone Arena.
A lot of history has been made by the Predators in this playoff run. That’s actually one reason why I believe this team is Stanley Cup bound.
But, here are five more reasons:
1. Pekka Rinne
Yes, just Rinne. Before the playoff run, I said “if Pekka can keep his save percentage above 90%, the Preds will go all the way.” Pekka Rinne has done that for the majority of the playoffs. He’s playing at the top of his game at the perfect time for Nashville. Actually, they could be on the verge of their second consecutive game seven, after experiencing none before this year’s playoffs. It’s been a hectic playoff run, but Pekka seems to be getting better during it.
2. The players that needed to step up are.
The right players have stepped up for Nashville. Again, before the playoff run, I said “In order for Nashville to make it far, they need their key players to step up.” And players like Mike Fisher and Mattias Ekholm has. Other players have too, but it’s been in the background. They’re doing things like dishing assists or playing great defense. Nonetheless, head coach Peter Laviolette has his guys playing the same hockey they did in 2014-15, when they were THE hottest team in the NHL.
3. Nashville Support
Forget what anyone says, one key recipe to having a successful team is to have a great fanbase who will give you an edge on home ice. The city of Nashville has been extremely supportive of their team for years, and today, you can just stroll through downtown Nashville and see the support pretty much everywhere you walk! The team feeds off the energy in the arena when they’re home, which makes it easier for them to win. Keep doing what you’re doing, Nashville.
The Predators was a team with pretty significant defense this season. Usually, when you see that a team heading into the playoffs has great defense, that team kind of falls off. But, not the Predators. They’re proving each game why their defense ranks among the best. Their disallowing everything that comes past the blue line or near the goalie. Pekka Rinne hasn’t been the only Predator blocking shots this year.
5. They’re overcoming obstacles
As I mentioned before, it’s been one heck of a run. From the players on ice to the fans at home, it’s been rough. On the fans side, we’ve stayed up late for our Preds, defended our Preds, and sat on concrete outside of Bridgestone Arena to watch our Preds. But, the guys have made it all worthwhile. They’re arguably playing their best hockey right now, and it isn’t coming easy. It’s been a ton of traveling, they’ve faced two physical California teams, and they had a 100 minute, three-overtime, game. Not only that, but they’ve been overcoming obstacles since January. So let’s see if they can keep it up.
Are we heading straight into Tennessee’s first ever Championship? Everyone in Nashville is hoping so. If they win it this year, it’s safe to say no one seen it coming. But, Nashville will gladly accept it and celebrate with a city that has had their back from day one.
Headline created by @_kpfaff on Instagram as part of #FiveReasonsFriday!
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