The Nashville Predators are coming off their worst game of the playoffs going into Game 5 in Anaheim tomorrow night. Nashville was outplayed early on,in Game 4, but battled back to get the game to OT, even without Mike Fisher on the ice for the last part of the 3rd and the overtime. After erasing a 2-0 3rd period deficit with just 34 seconds to go, the Predators would fall on a deflection off of P.K. Subban to lose 3-2 in OT.
Add to the deflation of the way Game 4 went, the news that Ryan Johansen is done for the season. After Game 4 he had to have emergency surgery on his thigh and he will be out 2 to 3 months. The good news is the surgery was a success. The bad news is that Mike Fisher’s status is unknown for Game 5, so the Predators could be without their #1 and #2 centers.
Here are the 3 keys to the game:
#1 – Next Man Up. The next guy in line MUST be ready to play in Game 5. Whether it is just Vern Fiddler or Vladislav Kamenev or moving Colin Wilson to center, the next guy needs to step up. Obviously they will not be asked to do what Johansen has done, but they must play smart and not hurt the team. Also, the wingers and defense need to fill that void.
#2 – Come Together. This kind of news can crush a team this time of year. However, it can also galvanize a team. If Nashville is going to stand a chance of winning this series, it needs to be the second option.
#3 – Be the Team They Are Built to Be. Yes, Johansen is our #1 center, but this is team is built from the back out. Pekka Rinne is the back bone. Then the d-core is where the dynamic play of this team starts. The forwards are there to complete the puzzle, but this teams mojo comes from its top 4 and it’s allstar goaltender. They can still win this series, if this team just plays their game.
Tomorrow’s game is a 6:15 pm CT start. The game can be seen on NBC.
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