It’s been an odd postseason for the Nashville Predators. They won the first two games of their first-round series against Anaheim by one goal, then they lost their next three games by a combined 12-3 margin, and then they came to win Games 6 and 7, including a 2-1 decision in Game 7 on the road.
The back-and-forth randomness has continued against San Jose. The Predators dropped the first two games of the series but have won three of the last four, scoring four goals in each of the three wins and winning a pair of games in overtime.
Game 7 of this scintillating series is Thursday in San Jose at 9 p.m. ET, and one thing is certain: the Predators will not be afraid of elimination.
“Nashville doesn’t have the fear of losing,” Sharks television voice Randy Hahn said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “They were down 3-2 (against Anaheim and San Jose), so they’ve faced eliminations three or four times already and come out on the sunny side every time up. So the pressure of facing elimination isn’t that big of a detail for Nashville as it is for the Sharks. This is the first time San Jose will face elimination in these playoffs.”
Indeed, the Sharks won six of their first seven playoff games but have dropped three of their last four. The winner of Game 7 will face St. Louis in the Western Conference Finals.
The Blues beat the Stars, 6-1, in Dallas in Game 7 on Wednesday.
“Both these teams realize this amazing opportunity,” Hahn said of Nashville and San Jose. “I’m not going to take anything away from St. Louis. They were unbelievable tonight. I didn’t see a blowout over Dallas coming the way it did despite Dallas’ goaltending issues throughout this year and throughout these playoffs. I didn’t see (Wednesday’s) final score being what it was. Having said that, look who’s gone. Anaheim’s gone. L.A.’s gone. Two Cups in the last five years. Chicago’s gone. Three Cups in the last six years. In the East, the top team in the league, Washington, they’re gone. The Rangers are gone. This is the year of opportunity.
“Once we get down to the conference finals (Thursday) night, when we find out whether or not it’s San Jose or Nashville, the four teams (left) – are you kidding me?” Hahn continued. “This is an opportunity year. No matter what happens (Thursday) night, one of those four teams, for sure, will have never won the Stanley Cup before – either Nashville or San Jose – (and will be playing) in the conference finals. So it’s a very interesting year in the NHL.”
The home team, it is worth noting, has won every game in this series. San Jose won Game 5 at home, 5-1, while Nashville took Game 6, 4-3 in overtime.
Neither result will matter come Thursday night.
“No matter what happened in Game 6 between San Jose and Nashville,” Hahn said, “both of them have to look at the opportunity that will be presented to them if they win.”