Ironically, the last goal scored in the Ducks/Predators series was by a Preds player with a nickname of Goose. Paul Gaustad, known as the bruiser on the team, was able to tip in a pass from Captain Shea Weber to seal the deal for the Predators. This will be the first time the Preds will advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup Finals since 2012.
The Predators made a franchise record by making it to game 7 for the first time in franchise history and also winning. The Predators took the first two games in Anaheim, Cali with both scores 3-2. The Predators, up two games to zero, looked to sweep the Ducks as they gained “home ice” advantage. Anaheim allowed one goal in both games in Nashville, tying the series back up 2-2. Anaheim took advantage from hot away ice team to lead the series with a 5-2 win. Predators down 3-2 games had to win both game 6 and 7 to accomplish a task no one thought they could do.
The hero of game 7 for the Predators was none other then one of the crowd favorites, goalie Pekka Rinne. Rinne had 36 saves with 14 of those coming from the 3rd period alone.
Head coach Peter Laviolette said, “He was really good, if you think that you need four wins to get out, and if you think about the four wins, you could consider him one of the best players on the ice. He was outstanding. He looked solid to me. He looked from the start tonight that he was right on top of his game,” about Pekka’s outstanding game 7 performance. Rinne allowed two goals in his last 64 shots that he faced against the Ducks.
Colin Wilson and Shea Weber each had two goals apiece and three points in the first series of the playoffs. Roman Josi, Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen and James Neal each had three points.
The Predators might as well change their phone to the Pacific time zone. From one California team to another, their next opponent will be the San Jose Sharks who defeated the Los Angeles Kings in five games.
The Predators have seen the Sharks twice in the playoffs since coming into the league in 1998. Sharks beat them in 2006 and 2007 with a series final of 4-1 in both years.
The Predators won two out of three games against the Sharks this season. Callie Jarnkrok (pronounced yarn-cro) had three goals in the three game series against the Sharks, and Weber had two goals and an assist. Several other players finished with three points.
Rinne was 2-0-0 against the Sharks this season. Backup goalie Carter Hutton made 38 saves but that wasn’t enough as the Preds were defeated 3-2 in a shootout.
The Predators look to advance to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history. It’s 2016, Preds. No better time to win a Stanley Cup then now.
The first game of the series will be held in San Jose on Friday, Apr. 29 at 9:30 central. The game will air on NBCSN, FSNTN and on the radio at 102.5. We’re coming for you, San Jose.