Back to the friendly confines of ‘Smashville’, the Predators look to force a game seven date with the Penguins.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are on the verge of winning their second Stanley Cup in as many years, they would be the first to win back to back titles in 19 seasons but it’s not going to happen in game six.
I’m willing to give Pekka Rinne and the Nashville Predators my trust in an arena where they have won nine of 10 playoffs games.
We tend to only remember what we just saw and that was Rinne getting run for the second time this series after the 1st period in game five. Let’s not forget that prior to Rinne allowed just two goals in game three and four, both at Bridgestone. Rinne is back in his space of comfort giving me a high level of confidence.
The Penguins are 11-4 against the Predators but their road record is less impressive in their last six games (1-5).
There have been three playoff games this postseason that have been decided by six goals and every time the team that took the loss came back to win the next game. You don’t get to this point in the season without mental toughness. The Predators can also take some comfort in knowing that since 2001, when a series has been tied at two, the team to lose game five has come back to win half the time. No need for Peter Laviolette’s team to panic and why should there be when we already know that this team has what it takes to rebound with home ice behind them. It wasn’t too long ago that the Pens had a 2-0 series edge when the series moved to Tennessee where Nashville easily won the next two.
In order to force a game seven, the Predators must be stronger up the middle. Sidney Crosby showed why he is still one of the top players in the game, harassing Predator defensemen early and often. Crosby forced a scoring chance less than a minute in, easily getting behind Ryan Ellis. Nashville must keep the Penguins to the perimeter as they have most of the series.
I’m backing the Preds at home in game six for my NHL picks on Sunday.