Three Keys of Success for the Nashville Predators in Game 7
Since entering the league in 1998, the Nashville Predators have never hosted a game 7 at home, until now. Nashville also presents a 5-0 record after losing the game prior in the 2018 NHL Playoffs, with 3 coming against the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets have taken games 1, 3 and 5. Nashville has taken games 2, 4 and 6. So the question awaits, who will be the Vegas Golden Knights next opponent in the Western Conference Finals?
2016 was the last time Nashville won games 6 and 7 to advance, where they faced the Anaheim Ducks overcoming a 3-2 trailing series. What will it take for Nashville to advance this year to the Western Conference Finals against the Jets? Here are the 3 keys of success for Nashville to advance:
Limiting the Penalties:
Nashville alone had 4 penalties in Monday night’s game. They have committed 22 penalties in 6 games. The Jets who are no stranger to netting goals on the power play, being fourth in the league this year with 64. Nashville ranked sixth best shorthanded this off-season while also being the league leaders in committing penalties with 372. Nashville has allowed 4 goals in those 22 penalty attempts.
The negative: Nashville commits way too many careless penalties to allow the Jets to score.
The positive: Nashville’s penalty kill has been dominant enough to keep Winnipeg from scoring.
The JOFA Line:
When you have a first line playing the way that Viktor Arvidsson, Ryan Johansen and Filip Forsberg have been playing, the Preds can be unstoppable. In 6 games of a 7 game series, Arvidsson has 3 goals and 3 assists for 6 points, Johansen has 3 goals and 5 assists for 8 points and Forsberg has 3 goals and 6 assists for 9 points.
When a goal like this is scored, it’s pretty hard to be a Jet and defend what you could never see coming
All the JOFA line seems to know is speed, and that’s something they’ll need to keep up with again in game 7. The Preds are 0-3 this series when Arvidsson is held pointless. If the Preds coach, Peter Laviolette, realizes what’s best, he’ll continue to have Arvy pressure the net and sneak one in past Jets goalie, Connor Hellebuyck.
Execute like Game 6:
I know it’s easier said than done, but they need to literally do everything the same as game 6. Without a doubt, that was the best game for Nashville this series. In this 2018 playoff run, Nashville has shut out both opposing teams in game 6. Pekka Rinne is the first goalie in Predators history to record a shutout in an elimination game. In order for Rinne to stay hot, his defensemen need to continue to do their job. The Predators recorded a total of 23 blocked shots to help Rinne secure the shutout win. When you have a team willing to take the body as many as 23 times in one game, no way the team shouldn’t be able to come out victorious.
The Eastern Conference final is set and the Tampa Bay Lightnings will face the Washington Capitals. The Western Conference Final is half-way complete, we know Vegas is in but who will be their adversary? Will the President’s trophy curse continue to live, or will the Preds break through for their second straight Western Conference Final? Tune into NBCSN, Thursday at 7 for the final game of arguably the best series of the playoffs.
- Preston covers the Tennessee Titans and the AFC South for NGSC Sports. He also covers Nashville Predators hockey.