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Predators aim to bounce back against Sharks in Game 6

Nashville believes faster pace, veteran leadership can extend series

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators are no strangers to having their backs against the wall in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Predators trailed their Western Conference First Round series against the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 and came back to win. They trailed the San Jose Sharks 2-0 in this second-round series before battling back to tie it 2-2.

Nashville's ability to bounce back will be tested once again in Game 6 against San Jose at Bridgestone Arena on Monday (9 p.m. ET; CNBC, SN, TVA Sports 2).

"We can't take anything for granted though," Predators defenseman Barret Jackman said. "What we did in the first round was great. You can draw off some experiences from that and take that into [Monday] and put forth our best effort."

The Predators weren't happy with their lack of quality chances against Sharks goalie Martin Jones in Game 5. They will try to focus on getting to the interior of the Sharks defense and creating more high-quality chances in Game 6.

Video: NSH@SJS, Gm5: Couture slips puck five-hole past Rinne

Nashville has been successful against San Jose when utilizing its team speed. In Nashville's two wins in the series, the players were happy with the pace of the game and want to return to that in Game 6.

"Yeah I think so," Predators forward Filip Forsberg said. "I think we did a really good job of just skating and playing fast hockey for games two, three and four and kind of got away from that [in Game 5]. We obviously always want to play fast, and I think that's a big thing."

The Predators have logged more travel miles than any other team in the playoffs. Despite their taxing schedule, they believe they have what it takes to come out with their best effort in Game 6.

"We're going to need to be sharp in all facets," Predators forward Craig Smith said. "I think there's going to be a high sense of urgency right now. It's do or die for us so I think that's when we're going to bring out our best hockey and making sure that we're almost perfect in every area."

The Predators have many young players, but coach Peter Laviolette credits the veterans for being able to fight back and respond to adverse situations in the playoffs.

"I think a lot of it has to with the leadership in the room," Laviolette said. "Starting with [Predators captain Shea Weber and goaltender Pekka Rinne], Mike Fisher, James Neal, Roman Josi, Paul Gaustad. Just a lot of veteran players that do the right things. They say the right things, and then they go and they do the right things.

"Like I said, we've been through it, but now we've got to go and do it again [Monday] in our building. We'll be happy to get home in front of our fans. They've proven to be a really positive influence for us in the playoffs. The energy has been great, and we'll look to turn things around [Monday]."

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