February 25, 2018

Nashville Predators favored to win Stanley Cup

19 May 2017, 10:16 | Pamela Mathis

The roster shake-up continued into the season with the firing of coach Ken Hitchcock on February 1 and the trade of defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk not long after.

At the start of the playoffs, fans were like, "oh no, not Chicago in the first round" or "well, you've got to play them sometime" or "hell, I don't care who we play".

The No. 8-seeded Predators pulled off an upset by sweeping the top-ranked Chicago Blackhawks in the first round and then defeated the St. Louis Blues in six games to advance to the third round, where they'll play the victor of Edmonton-Anaheim, with Game 7 of that matchup going Wednesday night.

Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen (92) celebrates after scoring against the St. Louis Blues during the third period in Game 6 of a second-round NHL hockey playoff series, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn. No one wants to utter anything that could be deemed as disrespectful - and thus serve as motivation - to whichever team triumphs in Wednesday's Game 7. Upshall began his career with the Predators.

Steen was out for Game 5, which resulted in a 2-1 win on home ice.

"He's been excellent down the stretch", coach Peter Laviolette said, before correcting himself.

Often in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, we find a player like Rinne to root for.

The Predators have been successful because their speed has allowed them to attack and frequently get the opposition on their heels. "He's really good at it, so we trust him fully back there with making the right reads".

- One game in the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs tonight - 6:30pm - WSH @ PIT (NBCSN). "We haven't gone further than this before".

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Mark Letestu had a four-point night, recording two goals and two assists. We all know that we have what it takes and everything is in our hands. "Right now, I'm pretty happy". "In their building, it's going to be tough". The loss of Shea Weber was heavily criticized, but P.K. Subban is leading the charge on the Predators' blue line.

If it would not have been for two simultaneous penalties that lead to a five on three, the Blues might not have given up a goal in that game.

St. Louis continued to press and Nashville held to its defensive system, counter punching at the right times, playing on their toes. "Probably every game, he was our best player and he was our best player again".

Neal tied it with Nashville enjoying a two-man advantage with 6:10 left in the second. That gave Nashville defensemen nine goals this postseason, a franchise record.

Ryan Johansen, who had an assist on Josi's goal, scored the game-winner on a 2-on-1 after skating up the slot and beating Allen with a backhander off a pass from Viktor Arvidsson at 3:15 of the third.

It would be fantastic to win by a 5-3 score and take the heart of the Predators.

They scored the first goal by getting shots through from the perimeter and crashing the net. But that total jumped seven - yes, seven - goals on Sunday during an early and relentless assault on Anaheim, so there's little else to say other than that Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Zack Kassian and the Oilers are still very much alive and touting more than enough resiliency to claim this series.

What started out as a handshake agreement at a chance meeting at a dinner party in Nashville has turned into a lucrative and emotional investment that has long had the serial entrepreneur off to games in Music City with regularity. Pred Nation delivered three consecutive TV timeout standing ovations, each one louder than the last.

That work next sends the Predators against either the Edmonton Oilers or the Anaheim Ducks in the conference final.

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