Skip to main content
playoffs

Predators one win from first trip to Western Conference Final

Nashville can advance past second round with victory at Blues in Game 5

by Robby Stanley / NHL.com Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators can advance to the Western Conference Final for the first time with a win in Game 5 of the Western Conference Second Round against the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

The Predators lead the best-of-7 series 3-1.

Nashville has made the Stanley Cup Playoffs 10 times since entering the NHL in 1998-99 but has never advanced past the second round. The Predators have the opportunity to do that against the Blues but want to keep the same mindset that has helped them go 7-1 this postseason.

 

[RELATED: Complete Predators vs. Blues series coverage]

 

"We know the situation we're in, and that's an exciting opportunity," Predators captain Mike Fisher said. "We're not looking too far ahead. I think we've done a good job of staying within game-to-game so far in these playoffs and focusing in and just being the best we can and not getting too far ahead. But at the same time, we know it's a huge game [Friday] in where we're going to be so it should serve as motivation."

The Predators know they have an opportunity to reach a level Nashville never has. Television ratings in the city are higher than they've ever been, and fans are hungry for the Predators to take the next step and make their first deep playoff run.

"Everybody wants that," coach Peter Laviolette said. "That's what everybody's striving for. Internally that's what we're striving for. For the city, they're striving for the same thing. That's what it's about. It's about moving on. It's about getting into the playoffs, getting out of the first round, getting out of the second round and just continuing to move on. Certainly that's the plan. That's the plan, anyway."

Video: A breakdown of the series between Preds and Blues

Goaltender Pekka Rinne has been with the Predators full time since the 2008-09 season and has seen the ups and downs of the playoffs. The opportunity to move past the hurdle of the second round is one he wants to take advantage of yet not focus too much on.

"It's very motivating," Rinne said. "It's in the back of your head. You try not to think about it too much. We know what the situation is and we need one more win, but I think you try to calm yourself down and try to treat it like any game in this series. Obviously we know it's a huge one … any time you have an opportunity to close a series out you want to give it your best shot and play your best game."

The Blues will be playing Game 5 at home, where they won Game 2.

"We've got to stay in this moment here," Predators forward Ryan Johansen said. "We've got a big, hungry team over there in St. Louis. They'll be waiting for us. I think right now we need to worry about our team and us getting better and finding ways to play more complete games of our brand of hockey. No better way to do it than to close out a series on the road if we can play our best game. We're all going to gear up for the challenge."

View More