NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators are determined to capitalize on their second opportunity to advance to the Western Conference Final for the first time.
The Predators get another chance to eliminate the St. Louis Blues when they host Game 6 in the Western Conference Second Round at Bridgestone Arena on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVA Sports). Nashville leads the best-of-7 series 3-2 but missed its first chance to advance by losing 2-1 in Game 5 at Scottrade Center on Friday.
Though the Predators are not facing elimination in Game 6, they are determined to match the desperation level they expect from the Blues.
"We feel like it's a must win," forward Colton Sissons said. "We're going to treat it like it. It's more of a Game 7 than anything. We're going to be ready to go and play a lot better and hopefully close this series out."
The Predators don't buy into the narrative that all of the pressure is now on them after their Game 5 loss. They believe they're in a good spot coming home, where they are 4-0 during the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs and have won eight consecutive postseason games dating to Game 6 of the 2016 Western Conference First Round against the Anaheim Ducks.
"It doesn't really make sense," center Ryan Johansen said. "We have a 3-2 series lead and we're at home where we've been 4-0 in the playoffs. We can't wait to get out there and feed off our energy and the atmosphere in that building and hopefully stay as successful as we've been there."
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St. Louis limited Nashville to 22 shots on goal in Game 5, and few were high-quality chances. The Predators weren't happy with their performance and vow to improve in Game 6.
"It was a number of things," Sissons said. "It just seemed to be an off night for us. We just didn't have our 'A' game by any means, and we're going to be better. We know that."
"We just didn't play our game [Friday] in St. Louis, and credit to them too," Johansen said. "They're a great hockey team, and they made it difficult for us to play our game. We've got a really good hockey team over there that we're playing against, and it's going to take our best to win.
"That's showed in the two games where they've beaten us and we haven't been our best so, that's why we're just talking about our focus and preparation and just making sure we're all on our game to give ourselves the best chance to be successful."
Home-ice advantage has been pivotal in this series; the Predators' 4-3 win in Game 1 at Scottrade Center is the only victory by a road team. They believe their fans will give them an advantage Sunday.
"It's been a lot of fun playing here," Johansen said. "Obviously we want to keep this going so it would be great to play our style of game and play a solid 60 minutes, maybe more, and show the fans how we play and what we're made of and keep this run going."