Predators Have 2 Shots at History Against Ducks

Doug Upstone

Monday, May 22, 2017 3:06 PM UTC

Monday, May. 22, 2017 3:06 PM UTC

This could be a historic week in Nashville. No, some country music star is not going to win an award; rather, the Predators might be making their first-ever trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Nashville hosts Anaheim in Game 6 on Monday with a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference Finals after an inspiring win 3-1 victory on Saturday.

In order for this to happen, the Preds will have to win one of their next two games. In truth, this season has already been historic, as this is Nashville's first trip to the Conference Finals. The NHL odds favor the Predators at -145 for Game 6, and they will need more players to step up.

These Stanley Cup playoffs more than any other we can recall has seen a war of attrition on teams as they advance. In the last battle of this very physical series, Nashville did not have leading scorer Ryan Johansen, who underwent thigh surgery and is out for the playoffs, and captain Mike Fisher did not play because of an upper-body injury. Fisher's return date is not known.

This means others have to step up, and Anaheim has found ways to take away the Predators' strong suit, puck possession, and actually outshot them in the last two contests.

The Ducks are far from feeling 100 percent, and they might be without top goaltender John Gibson, who left the previous game after the first intermission because of a lower-body injury and did not return. Anaheim's leading scoring Rickard Rakell is out Game 6 after being a last minute scratch in Game 5 due to injury.

If you are making NHL picks, it is hard to overlook what Pekka Rinne continues to do in net for Nashville, as other than one game the entire playoffs he has been amazing. With the Predators having already closed out two series on home ice this spring, a third might be in the offing.

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