Programing Note: There will not be a POTG Radio this week due to the Preds-Hawks game six.
Tonight's game between the Predators and Blackhawks is truly the most important game in the franchise's history. That mantle has been placed on every game lately but the reality is that this game and every other Pred's game that is played this year (if there are more) have taken on an increased level of importance.
Many fans were upset, disgusted and emotionally drained after Saturday's loss. I can assure you that the player's feelings were much deeper and more difficult to work through.
This team has a history of short memories and putting things behind them. Evey one of them understands that any thought or emotion placed on the past game is a distraction for the task at hand.
Barry Trotz reminded the team to forget about it on the team charter on Saturday. The fans need to do the same thing. Focusing on the past will do nothing to help tonight's effort.
The Predators have repeatedly come back against all odds to do things that no one expects. In the preseason, the team was picked near the bottom of the Western Conference and no one gave them a chance to make the playoffs. Without any star players, they fought their way to the seventh seed.
When the season started, the Preds got off to a horrible start going 2-5-1, including a six game losing streak. Folks were speculating on Barry Trotz's longevity but he never wavered and the team played well for the remainder of the season..
In game five on Saturday, the Preds were completely stifled by the Blackhawk defense for two periods. They never quit believing in themselves and giving a full effort. If not for a couple of poor decisions in the last 30 seconds of play, they would have won.
There's no reason to expect that the Predators will not give 110% to try to rise from the ashes tonight. Dan Ellis tweeted "Damn, talk about slipping through your fingers. Oh well, Preds have always done it the hard way...now we are in our comfort zone!" after Saturday's game.
Ellis hit the nail on the head. The Preds are at their best when no one expects them to be able to rise to the occasion. As fans, you have to expect the improbable and keep Wednesday night open on your calendar.
Thursday night Barry Trotz commented on the Predators history of things never being easy, "for the last 12 years, so we are well versed in the hardness of the game and finding ways to win and getting the job done so I think we've got a good foundation for that."
As a fan, if you don't have tickets, you need to find some. If you do have tickets, get your head right, and be "all in" for tonight's game. What the team doesn't need is a quiet crowd in a less than full house.
There's no point in worrying about the Pred's past playoff records, holding a grudge against Marty Erat for his pass, or thinking we got the short end of the stick on Marion Hossa's hit. All of that is in the past.
The only thing that matters today, is game six at the Bridgestone Arena. If you are a true fan of the Predators, give it your all and don't get discouraged if the Preds fall behind early. They will be in their comfort zone and ready to strike.
The Phoenix Coyotes continued their miracle season with an against all odds convincing 5-2 win against Detroit on the road to force game seven at Jobbing.com Arena on Tuesday night.
In the nightcap, the Los Angeles Kings put up a gallant effort but lost to Vancouver 4-2 to send the Canucks to the second round.
Buffalo at Boston 6:00 CDT (Bruins lead 3-2) NHL Center Ice
Washington at Montreal 6:00 CDT (Caps lead 3-2) Versus
Chicago at Nashville 8:00 CDT (Hawks lead 3-2) FS TN
Preds-Hawks Game 5 Roundup...
Here is our game story from Saturday.
John Glennon has the game story, notes column and postgame ponderings at the Tennessean. Bryan Mullen hit the Hawks dressing room for their side of the story.
David Boclair checks in with his game story at The City Paper.
In the blog world posts come from Ryan Porth, Brandon Felder, The View From 111, Forechecker, Section 303, and See Puck City,
The Chicago view of the game can be found at the Chicago Sun Times, Daily Herald, and the Chicago Tribune.
Marion Hossa Hit on Hamhuis...
The league reviewed the hit that Marion Hossa laid on Dan Hamhuis late in Saturdays game and also conducted a "hearing" with Hossa on Sunday. The result was no further action.
David Poile disagreed with Colin Campbell's decision. Several Preds also commented on the legality of the hit.
Jim Neveau of PaintItBlackhawks gives and opposing view at The Hockey Writers.
In Pred Nation...
Jim Diamond looks at tonight's game as well as the history of how the Preds have fared in elimination games.
Bryan Mullen writes of the Predator's confidence going into tonight's game. They also have the Game at a Glance.
David Climer has some harsh, but realistic, words for the Preds.
David Boclair chronicles the 0 for the playoffs efforts of the Predator's power play at The City Paper.
Mark Willoughby challenges the 7th Man to be at their best at tonight's game. Mark also has his weekly view with some stunning news from the state of New Jersey.
The Milwaukee Admirals forced a game seven tonight against the Chicago Wolves after coming back from a three goal deficit on Saturday night.
Jennifer returns with her thoughts about tonight's game at Addicted.
Hockey's Future highlights Blake Geoffrion in their monthly On The Rush feature.
AJ has part two of the Tale of Two Cities at PMFF.
Around the NHL...
The Norris Nominees were released on Friday. Who is your pick from Drew Doughty, Mike Green and Duncan Keith? I wonder if Mike Green will try to be the most obvious NHLer in the lobby at the Palms again this year? Last year I wondered if he had lost his room key.
Sports Illustrated has the 15 most talented NHL teams without a cup. Nashville is not included.
Kingscast writes for VFMS and wonders if the Kings have become the 2010 version of "Raider Nation."
The Goal Crease reports that Ilya Kovalchuk is thankful for the opportunity to play with the Devils. At least he got to play one game longer than when he was with the Thrashers.
Larry Brooks puts a lid on the once great New Jersey Devils.
Brian Metzer has a look at the new arena in Pittsburgh at Hockey Independent.
The Sun-Times has a post indicating that Jerry Reinsdorf is expected to complete the purchase of the Coyotes prior to the start of next season.
Brandon Worley has a new story on every visiting team's favorite green men. I didn't realize that they had a web page, a Facebook fan page, and a Twitter account @thegreenmen.
Hockey is responsible for deaths! Maybe it should be banned.
Odds and Ends...
For fans of The Office, here is a fan site called The Money Beets with every episode on their site.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass