Before Game 6, Trotz was asked how to prepare his players to clinch the franchise's first ever trip to the second round. (This is the first time the Preds have had an opponent in an elimination game.)
"We've never been here," said Trotz, Nashville's only coach since it arrived in the League in 1998. "You have to live in the moment. This is a new situation…. Every group is a new canvas and you start over again.
"There are good and bad experiences you have to go through. The bad ones make you more resilient, the positive ones you draw from."
Nashville has been resilient in this series, helping to establish a series of franchise firsts. The Predators rallied from a goal down in the final minute of regulation in Game 5, pulled their goalie and tied the score and then won in overtime. In Game 3, they earned a power play in the final minutes of regulation to help them protect a one-goal lead, as they won 4-3. Last year, they lost a game to Chicago in the first-round in a similar situation.
Friday represented numerous organizational firsts for Nashville: The first time it won a Game 5, won an overtime playoff game and recorded two road playoff wins in the same series (or season). In fact, Game 1's victory was only Nashville's second road playoff victory in six trips to the postseason.
Asked how the mood in the room was on Sunday afternoon, Trotz said he had yet to check. After completing his talk, he popped in and then came back out to indicate that the mood was light.
Earlier, he said his message to the players was simple.
"Play to win," he said. "Don't sit back. This is a great opportunity. Shifty by shift. Get the job done."
It's pretty crazy, but believe me when I say we didn't draft these players with the mindset we had to because they had good hockey-playing dads. It just turned out that way. But we're certainly glad they're a part of our organization.
— Arizona Coyotes director of amateur scouting Tim Bernhardt regarding the coincidence that six of the organization's top prospects are sons of former NHL players