My brain is still at home sleeping and did not make the trip to work with me today. Why? Because the adrenaline from last night’s win to force a Game 6 still has me buzzing! …Well, for the most part – I am slowing entering zombie mode. Whether you were in the crowd or cheering from afar, last night’s game was anything but outstanding. The boost from the home crowd, the pressure on Darling, and the resilience of Pekka Rinne gave Nashville the 5-2 victory, providing the good guys a chance at another game.
- Small Market Snubbed: Yesterday afternoon, the NHL announced who the PHWA had chosen as their nominees for the Calder Trophy, an award that essentially serves as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year. A name most notably absent? Filip Forsberg. Per Pete Jensen, “since 1997-98, only one NHL rookie has posted 25+ goals, 60+ points, +15 or better & 200+ shots on goal: Filip Forsberg”. If the award is going to go to a player that sort of makes a showing during the latter-half of the season, then the trophy needs to be known as the “Rookie of the Latter-half of the Season” award, not year.
- Return of the Fish: Mike Fisher was seen participating in practice yesterday morning, but as to if he’d be in the game was questionable. He even said himself that he wasn’t sure:
However, he was on the ice during pregame warm-ups and was a starter for the game. No doubt his return helped boost some morale around the locker room.
- The Real Deal Steal: James Neal gave the Predators their first lead of the night just 47 seconds in the third, opening the flood gates for Wilson and Forsberg.
- Hey, Mr. Wilson: What a post season it is for Colin Wilson, collecting his fifth of the series last night & setting a franchise record.
- Don’t Snub the Prince: Filip Forsberg’s a classy kind and he knows just how to retaliate in the right way against the NHL’s Calder snub. Intentional or not, it was truly poetic justice as Forsberg sunk two goals on his former roommate (Darling) and sealed the game winner and Hat Trick on an empty net.
- First Time for Everything: The Predators are notching a bunch of franchise records this post season, which is understandably awesome. As the old saying goes, “There’s a first time for everything”.
Nashville squashed that little fact into the dirt (thankfully) and look to squander a few other “never have I evers” before this series is over, too. The Preds are 1-4 in Game Sixes and have never been to a Game 7. As I said, there’s a first time for everything and now’s that time.
- Three’s a Crowd: Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg, and Craig Smith are all tied for the team’s lead in points (5) during this post season.
- All Business: Per Kris Martel of Fox Sports, the locker room after the game was all but celebratory.
Though they deserve to wear the smiles on their faces, it’s still a job out there and their butts are on the chopping block. There’s no time to rest and the boys know it.
Going back to Chicago is going to be tough tomorrow; there’s no easy way to put it. The odds are stacked against the Predators, but they aren’t called the Pesky Preds for nothing, right? Backs against the wall style hockey. If Nashville can pull out the win tomorrow night, I have no doubt in my mind that they can conquer Game 7 at home. They just have to get there. Tomorrow’s game with not only be a physical challenge, but one of mental strength, too. They broke Darling last night and they can sure as all get out do it again. Get through tomorrow night; get through the series.
A quote from Coach Laviolette: “Our back is still up against the wall, and we are still a team who needs to realize where we are at and our place in life right now. If we win, we can come back and play Game Seven, and if we don’t, then we start our summer. I don’t think our guys are ready to go home.”
- Alright, which Hawks “fan” got a wee bit confused and threw their puck hat?
- Mike Ribeiro has been frustrating at times, but this all but makes up for it:
Puck drops for Game 6 at 7PM.
It’s far from over, folks.