Depending on the outcome of today's game six in the playoff series between the Nashville Predators (3-2) and the Anaheim Ducks (2-3) it will either be the best of times in Smashville or the worst of times on lower Broad. That represents the two ends of the spectrum that are both possibilities at the end of tonight's contest.
The Ducks' Teemu Selanne described the range of emotion in a hockey game when discussing the Ducks game four loss and it is good advice for the Predators. "You've got to play sixty minutes. That's why we love this game. You never know what is going to happen. There is a lot of surprises and a lot of disappointment and a lot of happiness. It's all a part of this game."
With that advice in mind, The Nashville Predators are on the brink of doing something they have never done before, winning a playoff series. Just because they have a series lead doesn't mean that it will be easy. After a big win in game three last Sunday, they had a big collapse in game four.
The Preds and Ducks have alternated wins to this point and the home teams have only won two of the five contests so home ice and momentum mean little.
The Ducks have their backs against the wall and they realize what this game means, win or go home.
Bobby Ryan explained, "If you don't recognize the situation going into the game, there's something wrong with you. Our season is on the line. We've come 82 games and five more to get to this point so our backs are against the wall so it will take a lot of courage from everybody."
Teemu Selanne, who could be playing his last NHL game said, "Everyone knows it's all about tomorrow, just go one shift, one period at a time. You can't really do much more than that. We all know what we have to do and that's that... Our approach is to play our best game and whatever happens, happens... Hopefully it's a happy ending"
Ducks' Coach Randy Carlyle was very businesslike in discussing the game, "We knew we were coming here anyway. We're not happy with the events that transpired last night (Friday) but we knew we were coming back so our focus is to play the game."
On the emotional state of the Ducks team Carlyle said, "It was a pretty quiet flight over but I think everyone was sleeping. When you go further on in the playoffs you see a lot more resting on the travel days. They are in the lobby now, going out and having dinner, just another normal day on a road trip."
On Saturday it was a switch in personas of the two coaches. Barry Trotz, who usually rests his team, had a brief practice and Carlyle, who always skates his team, only had an off ice workout.
Trotz was ready to move past the big win in game five, "Yesterday (Friday) was in the past and the present is a big game tomorrow. It's one game at a time. Everybody says great game, big game but at the same time it was in the past, what we do tomorrow is really important."
Pekka Rinne (3-2-0, 3.57, .865) will lead the Predators against Ray Emery (2-2-0, 3.23, .897) as has been the case since the third period of game one.
The Ducks have lived by virtue of the power play which is cruising along at a 35% clip (7 of 20) and leads all playoff teams. Each team only had a pair of penalties in game four which was the first game where there had not been a parade of players from each team to the penalty box.
It will be an interesting day on lower Broad with a throng of fans in the street before the game that will be the highest demand for a ticket in the history of Predators hockey. If you don't have a ticket for the 5 p.m. start at the Bridgestone Arena, be sure and bring plenty of money if you want to see the opening puck drop.
If the Preds win, they will have a couple of days off before they prepare for round two. If they lose, they will get back on the plane Monday for another trip to Orange County. Hopefully, those choice will give added motivation for a win.
Other Previews come from Amanda DiPaolo, Ryan Porth, Josh Cooper, David Boclair, Robby Stanley, Marc Torrence, Predatorial, Paul McCann, The Tennesseasn, David Climer, and Predators.com.
Section 303 has printable signs for you to take to the game.
We also have videos of Barry Trotz and Randy Carlyle speaking about Game six.
Previews from the Southland come from from The OC Register, Long Beach Press Telegram, L A Times, Ducks Blog, Quackalakin', Anaheim Calling, Battle of California, Ducks and Cover, Ducks Daily Blog, and Ducks and Pucks.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass