I was wrong, I admit it, I had the Predators coming out and evening up the Stanley Cup Final series with the Pittsburgh Penguins. It didn’t work out. In fact, Pittsburgh looked really, really good in Game 2. That said, I believe that the Predators can rest this series at home in Tennessee, a home ice advantage like few others in the National Hockey League. But it all starts with Game 3 Saturday night. Here are my reasons why the 2017 Stanley Cup Final isn’t over and for believing that Nashville can come back.
Why the 2017 Stanley Cup Final Isn’t Over for the Nashville Predators
In Game 1, Pittsburgh went a full 37 minutes on their home ice without a shot on goal. That is absolutely astounding. It’s never happened before in the final. If the coaching staff of the Preds was smart, they’d remind the players of this incredible feat and tell them that they are capable of shutting any Penguins player down.
The most vocal and dynamic player on the Predators has yet to make a major splash in this series. Sure, he had a goal taken away in Game 1, but we have yet to see the best of Subban in the final. He loves the limelight and the pressure, and there’s no bigger pressure than being winless in a series. I believe that PK will be a big factor on Saturday night.
The tradition of a catfish ending up on the ice will galvanize the fans and pump up the Nashville players. Sure, it’s an irrational item to point to in terms of a turning point. But we saw what happened after a catfish somehow made its way onto the ice in Pittsburgh in Game 1. The Preds responded after being down 3-0 to tie it up. Perhaps Penguins players will have flashbacks to this scary-looking fish if it is throw out prior to Game 3.
This is the third appearance in the Stanley Cup Final for Nashville head coach Peter Laviolette. He’s seen it all. I expect him to work wonders with home ice advantage. Definitively he’ll have the last change and be able to get his stud defensemen out against the Pens top players.
We will see the best of Nashville in Game 3, that’s a guarantee. The Predators know that if they lose they could get swept – and on their own ice surface. I don’t see that happening. Give me the Preds in Game 3 to bounce back.
Editor’s Note: Matthew is not a fan of the Nashville Predators, nor has he wagered any funds on the team. His steadfast belief in their chances of winning Game 3 stem from his sheer analysis of the series thus far.
Matthew Ross is a sports commentator and a radio host on TSN 690 Radio in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Follow him @MatthewWords.