The Nashville Predators have played in five game fives in their franchise's short history. They are 0-5 in these games.
Just another monkey to get off their back en route to getting the giant gorilla off of their back, which is winning a playoff series.
The Predators have been the better team in this series but have had two five minute stretches of bad hockey resulting in two losses. Their will be a few people skating around on the ice at the Honda Center in Anaheim come 9 PM central time, but if you truly want to see a battle and a struggle for victory, tune into the Nashville Predators' mindset. The mental war Friday night will largely outweigh any battle for the puck or the inevitable scraps in front of the net. For the Predators to win this game, they have to believe they can win this game. They believed they could win game four until a shorthanded goal by the the Ducks' Corey Perry early in the third period which lead to a 6-3 Anaheim victory Wednesday night to tie the series at two games a piece. Nashville must have a resilient attitude as they have had all year.
The Ducks have regained momentum in a way that I personally did not think was possible. Their dominant third period was just what the doctor ordered for a team that had been dominated just three nights before. They chased Vezina nominee Pekka Rinne with three goals in five minutes and twenty-nine seconds. This is really the first time Rinne has been off his game, letting in relatively soft goals and it is imperative that he bounces back and returns to his MVP form. It will also be interesting to see if Bobby Ryan will immediately compliment Getzlaf and Perry as he has all season. I expect he will. The Nashville defense will have to readjust to the RPG line and be on their best game to stymie the most dangerous line in hockey.
After the shock of Wednesday night, the locker room still sounds positive. After all, the series is tied, and it is now a best of three series. Win two out of three games against a team which you beat three out of four times in the regular season, and you move on to the second round. It all starts Friday night in Anaheim.
I hope just as much as I predict: Predators win 5-3.