Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Adam Vingan of The Tennessean,
There was a certain looseness to the Predators' morning skate Wednesday at Honda Center.
Energy was high and not blatantly nervous. Smiles were present. It was as if the Predators weren't preparing for a Game 7, the first in their history, and the magnitude of the situation before them.
"Honestly, it's another game," Predators captain Shea Weber said, summarizing the team's mindset ahead of Wednesday's winner-take-all matchup against the Ducks. "It's a big game. Obviously both teams really want to win, and the team that wins is going to go on to the second round.
"There's no point in making too much of it. You put too much pressure on yourself in these situations and you don't perform. I think you've got to come with your best effort. Everyone thinks that their best effort in a team atmosphere, team setting will do the job. Hopefully that'll happen tonight."
from Jeff Miller of the OC Register,
As difficult as the Ducks keep making this for themselves, they sure are making it easy for some of the rest of us.
Normally, advancing something as Titanic as a Game7 would require coming up with a creative idea for a column.
With the Ducks, however, I already came up with my idea ... almost a year ago.
The Register could simply rerun what I wrote before the Ducks’ most recent Game7, changing all the “Blackhawks” to “Predators” but retaining the general theme, and I could get an early start on my next hangover.
My column of May30, 2015, explained how the Ducks had no chance of beating Chicago in the finale of the Western Conference finals because, among other reasons, Game7 just isn’t a game this core group seems capable of winning.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
One game with the whole hockey world watching.
Consider how rare an opportunity that is for the Nashville Predators, a team that hardly ever gets a chance to showcase itself on national TV.
If they do, it's because they're the team other people see when they're watching highlights or reading a box score. So often, the afterthought franchise.
The pesky Predators have forced their way into the national spotlight, with a chance to knock off a team many picked to win the Stanley Cup. Come Wednesday night, they will the face the Anaheim Ducks in Game 7 of their first-round series at 10 p.m. ET in Anaheim, the last game of the NHL's opening round,
from Joe Rexrode of The Tennessean,
It was better this way, even if it didn't seem like it at the time.
The Nashville Predators will play in a Game 7 for the first time in franchise history, because they won a playoff game while trailing 3-2 in a series for the first time in franchise history, because they were flat-out better than the Anaheim Ducks on Monday at Bridgestone Arena.
And because their goaltender, Pekka Rinne, was flat-out clinical in the 3-1 win, rising for the first time in this series to the level of counterpart Frederik Andersen.
But the best part of this whole thing for the Predators was the worst part. A few lost seconds at the end of the second period, the kind of sequence that had shaken them in recent days and turned their eye-opening 2-0 series advantage into an eye-rolling 3-2 deficit.
Highlights from game 6 are below...
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
For the Nashville Predators, it's new territory they can't wait to experience. For the Anaheim Ducks, it's an all-too-familiar setting they wanted so badly to avoid.
Without question, the pressure in this series has shifted with Game 7 on tap, a first in the history of the Predators.
"Excited. You dream about it growing up. You're playing road hockey or you're playing on the pond, it's always Game 7 and an overtime winner," Predators captain Shea Weber said. "Hopefully, it's for us. It's an exciting time."
Weber's empty-net goal sealed a 3-1 win Monday in Game 6 to force the maximum. There is one final game to go in the opening round of the playoffs, with everyone watching.
It's a scenario Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne was giddy just thinking about during the day, but he tried not to look past the task at hand.
"Even though you try to just think about this game, Game 6, this afternoon I was thinking about Game 7, and now it's here," he said. "It's a great feeling."
Helene Elliott of the LA Tems reminds us...
The Ducks haven't won a Game 7 since they defeated the Calgary Flames in the first round in 2006. Since then they've lost four series that went the limit...
more on the Ducks/Predators....
The Nashville Predators defeated the Anaheim Ducks 3-1 tonight.
Here is the game winner by James Neal.
Game 6- Anaheim at Nashville 8:00 PM ET | CNBC, TVAS, SN, FS-TN, FS-W
Game 7- Chicago at St Louis 8:30 PM ET | NBCSN, CBC, TVAS, FS-MW, CSN-CH
If Nashville wins, game 7 will be Wednesday in Anaheim.
The comment section is your place to discuss the games tonight.
"This is our Game 7 right now, we’re taking this as a Game 7. We have to put our best foot forward tonight because we’re going to get their best."
-Ryan Kesler of the Anaheim Ducks on game 6 tonight in Nashvlille. Pierre LeBrun of ESPN has more on the gtame.
from Curtis Zupke of the LA Times,
Past is not prologue, as far as the Ducks are concerned, even if the ink on the recent pages of their history is somewhat fresh.
They have been in this position each of the past two seasons, having a 3-2 series lead, and both have ended in anguish. The Ducks lost the final two games to the Chicago Blackhawks in last year's Western Conference final and against the Kings in the 2014 semifinal.
Players expectedly closed the book on all that heading into Monday's Game 6 with a 3-2 first-round series lead on the Nashville Predators.
"I look at that as last year," Hampus Lindholm said. "That's history for me. This is a new year, a new group. It doesn't really bother me what happened that year … all that stuff that happened before. I don't think anyone has that on their mind right now."
Said Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau about the past: "I'm not bringing it up."
Questions about learning from the past has practically become a rite of spring for Boudreau. He said Sunday that it's helped his approach in trying to find the right formula and cited "experience is the best teacher."
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The Anaheim Ducks in the playoffs have presented a microcosm of their season, digging a huge hole out of the gates before finding the resolve to climb out of it.
And in both cases, just when the outside world began to wonder about this team, the players inside never lost doubt.
"Just like our season," observed center Ryan Kesler after a third straight victory over the Nashville Predators on Saturday afternoon, this one by a 5-2 count. "We started off terrible and then got good. It's a race to four and we still have to win another game. But I don't think there's a single guy in this room that didn't think we'd be in this position."
That is what is different about this version of the Ducks. They didn't get to lollygag in first place from start to finish this season as is normally their way -- they had to go into survival mode after a brutal opening half and rather incredibly win the Pacific Division by the end of it.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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