Once again, the Nashville Predators will have a chance to eliminate the St. Louis Blues from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This time, however, it will be at home in the friendly confines of Bridgestone Arena, where the Predators have won their last 8 playoff games, dating back to last season. Nashville was flat in Game 5 and Ryan Johansen had a very interesting quote after the game – “ We kinda looked like we were hoping we would win that game.” That says a lot about the way the team played in the last game. Taking nothing away from St. Louis, but the Predators never looked like the same team from the previous 8 games of the playoffs.
Nashville will have to return to that form if they want to move to the next round. The Blues are not going to just lay down and give it to them. Smashville will be more than ready to do its part for sure.
Here are the 3 keys to the game:
#1 – Use Smashville. In Game 5, the Predators looked out of sorts, like the extra day’s rest just took the fire out of them. They will need to use what the crowd is going to bring for them. Those of us who are in this building all the time know exactly they kind of energy it can provide. Nashville will need to ride that wave for 60 minutes.
#2 – The JOFA Line. Let’s face it, this line must be better. The last few games they have not fought through the pressure that St. Louis has been putting on them. Forsberg, Arvidsson, and Johansen have to get back to being that dominating line they were in the 1st series. These guys are where it all gets started. If it is not working, Peter Laviolette may want to consider moving Arvidsson to another line just to see what he can spark.
#3 – Play Predator Hockey. This is something they never really got around to in Game 5. They have been doing a great job of it all post season so far and they have to get back to it. When this team hits, wins battles and turns the puck the other way, they quickly become a force to reckon with. Do this and we could all be happy tomorrow evening.
This afternoon’s game is a 2 pm CT time start. The game can be seen on NBC.
Follow me on Twitter at danieljones@dj_puckplanet