It will be the end of the road for someone tonight. It is the most anticipated game of a playoff series when teams reach the seventh and deciding game of a series. For fans, we are nervous. We feel it in our stomachs. We know it could end in one final game.
The Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets have battled to the seventh game of their Western Conference Semifinal series. It won’t go down as a classic. For the most part it has seemed like an uphill struggle for the Predators. They sure haven’t made it easy. Even with a four-goal lead with four minutes left in Game 6 I still could not relax. That’s just how explosive the Jets can be. They proved that in Game 3 when they scored three goals in two minutes to erase a 3-0 Predators’ lead.
The expectations are that the Predators have the depth and experience to win it. Most are giving the edge to Nashville in this game and many are already talking about Vegas. If the local morning news show was telling us when Game 1 of the Western Conference finals would start against Vegas.
Not so fast my friend. Winnipeg isn’t going to go away quietly. In the Stanley Cup playoffs you assume nothing.
The Predators can be beaten at home and have been beaten twice in this series – badly. So much for the home ice advantage right? Well, these Game 7s are why teams want to have home ice advantage. Unfortunately it seems out so-called “7th man” has not given us the advantage as they did during last season’s run.
As we have seen in this series, no game has been alike. Each game has been a different story. Will Pekka Rinne be the brick wall he was in Game 6 or will he lose his focus as he has in other games in the series? Will the Predators clamp down on defense like they did in Games 4 and 6 or will they have breakdowns that we have seen too many times this season?
I can’t shake the image of Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine. No, not the image that has been circulated which compares him to a goat but the one of the goal scorer with a score to settle. Could it come down to him and a shot from the point?
I’m not ready for this season to end but Winnipeg’s explosive offense scares me. Even with NBC’s Jeremy Roenick (gagging here) dressing up like a Jets’ they weren’t able to close the deal at home on Monday Night. I think the Jets will take it away from us in Game 7.
Previous Game 7s:
- Nashville Predators
- April 27, 2016 – Nashville 2, Anaheim 1
- May 12, 2016 – San Jose 5, Nashville 0
- Winnipeg Jets
- None as the current franchise
Winnipeg has outscored Nashville 22-18 in the series.
I saw on the news this morning that Mike Fisher did not practice with the team and probably will not play in the game. No one is saying what happened and why he left Game 6. Hopefully someone else will step up and get the job done.
Game 7s are tough. In the years I have watched the Stanley Cup playoffs and watched the seventh game of a series, most have been pretty close and several have even gone to overtime. Yes, load up on the Xanax if that happens tonight.
My pick? I don’t think overtime will be needed. I think Winnipeg will be strong and win 4-2.