The Nashville Predators have spent the entire 2017-18 NHL season making themselves look unstoppable, invincible and practically outright immortal.
Suddenly from out of nowhere, they look more human then they have ever been before.
The Predators playoff series against the Winnipeg Jets has gone not quite as expected. Currently, both teams are tied at 3-3 in the series. Game 7 happens Thursday night, deciding who will move forward in the playoff contention and who will be eliminated for good. The Predators have yet to lead the series at any point. They’ve only been able to tie it as the Jets won games one, three and five while the Predators have been able to win games two, four and six.
Game 6 saw the Predators launch what was quite possibly their fiercest offensive of the season, with them shutting out the Jets 4-0. While this seems like a good sign, the fact that Nashville has even managed to find themselves in a sudden death situation is a serious cause for concern.
All season we haven’t seen this struggles emerge in the team. Suddenly, the Jets have managed to push their backs up against the wall and put them on catching back up duty. Why this is happening now is a mystery. Did the team get a little too confident and let their guard down? Was there some big weakness within the team that is now being exposed? Is it just bad luck?
Either way, the Predators are on the ropes. They need to find a way off of them.
Even if Nashville pulls out a victory over Winnipeg, there are bigger issues that await them. It has already been determined that the Predators will have to face the Las Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference Finals. The Golden Knights have made it well-known that they are the biggest challenge to the Predators going back to the Stanley Cup Final.
Las Vegas has gone both 4-0 and 4-2 in their first two playoff series. In the first round, they shutout the Los Angeles Kings in twice. They shut out the San Jose Sharks in the second round twice also, and one of their losses to them was an overtime loss. This is coming off of one of the best inaugural seasons for a team to date.
While Nashville has their own underdog and motivational story, the Golden Knights have an even bigger and deeper one. Not only is this their inaugural season, they are also playing for the victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting that occurred right before the start of the NHL season.
The men on this team aren’t only playing for pride and to prove themselves, they are also playing to bring home a trophy to a heartbroken town. If Nashville wants to seriously contend for the Stanley Cup, they will have to work hard to defeat the Golden Knights and keep their focus on the main prize as they face what could be the one challenge this season that might not be in their favor.
Will the Nashville Predators succeed in bringing the cup home? If anything has been proven this season, it’s that the players of this team are willing to go the distance and do whatever they can to pullout a victory even when it’s lodged in the jaws of defeat. Hopefully, they haven’t run out of the gas needed to do that.