I’ll be honest, even though I’m a Blackhawks fan, I was really sad to see the Predators fall to the Penguins in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. Nashville had entered the Playoffs as the second wildcard team in the Western Conference facing off against the heavily-talented Chicago Blackhawks. Out of nowhere, the number one seeded Blackhawks were swept right out of the series and right into the offseason, as the Predators eliminated the Blackhawks in just four games. Although I was very angry with Nashville (more of my anger was towards the Hawks), I was very certain that St. Louis (who I hate even more) would knock them out just as fast as they had done to my beloved hometown team. I was so wrong.
Once Nashville stole Game 1 in St. Louis (meaning they were 5-0 in the Playoffs), I knew that this team was no fluke. With players like P.K. Subban and Pekka Rinne leading the charge, they eventually went on to win the series on their home ice in just six games, but they were now facing the second best team in the west. Anaheim was entering the series following a dangerously close series with the Edmonton Oilers, but they had proven their talented team was capable of anything. It was a clash of the titans, as the Predators and Ducks dueled for the rights of the Western Conference, with the Predators winning the series in six games.
The final stage was a lot different however. The Cinderella story was nearing the final chapter as the Predators were now facing the defending Stanley Cup Final Champions in the Pittsburgh Penguins. With the star Captain Sidney Crosby leading the way for the Penguins, it was clear that this was going to be the hardest challenge the Predators would face in this year’s postseason. It was home ice advantage throughout the first five games, as the Penguins led the series 3-2 heading into Game 6 in Nashville (no home team had lost a game yet). Game 6 was very close, with a very controversial call against the Predators that would have given them a 1-0 lead late in the game. Unfortunately, the Penguins would later score two goals and win the game and the Stanley Cup Final altogether.
One of the great things about sports is the “what-ifs” that come with them. Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final had a great “what-if” that could have changed the entire series and its’ outcome. Regardless, the Predators had a historic run through the playoffs and they reminded sports fans all over the world why Playoff Hockey is one of the best sports to watch. I’ve said this before, but the NBA Playoffs could really take a page out of the NHL Playoffs’ book, because the Stanley Cup Final was definitely more entertaining than this year’s’ NBA Finals (don’t worry, that’ll be coming up shortly). It will be very interesting to see what happens this offseason with the Nashville Predators, because they just put their team back up on the map, and now, they have unfinished business with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Grab your popcorn everyone, because the Predators just found new prey.