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Stanley Cup Final

Stanley Cup Final blog: Harry Zolnierczyk

Predators forward says players won't be intimidated by stakes in Game 6 against Penguins

by Harry Zolnierczyk / Special to

Nashville Predators left wing Harry Zolnierczyk will be keeping his own blog throughout the Stanley Cup Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Zolnierczyk will check in regularly with behind-the-scenes access.

Zolnierczyk, 29, is in his first season with the Predators. He split the season between Nashville and Milwaukee of the American Hockey League. In 24 regular-season NHL games, he had two goals and two assists. He has played in 11 games in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs and has a goal and two assists. He broke into the NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2011-12 and has played for the Penguins, New York Islanders and Anaheim Ducks.

In his Saturday entry, Zolnierczyk discusses the process of getting past the 6-0 loss in Game 5 and looking forward to Game 6, as well as his expectations for what the atmosphere will be at Bridgestone Arena on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVA Sports).

Today, our main focus is to just look back over Game 5. As much as we want to forget about it and move on, we need to break it down and look at some of things that went wrong. We want to be on top of correcting those for Game 6.

In Game 5, Pittsburgh was just quicker out of the gate than we were. Once they started to run away with it, it was that much harder to contain them and to keep the game within reach. We looked at some video and are ready to make some corrections.


[RELATED: Complete Penguins vs. Predators series coverage | Pekka Rinne ready for Game 6]


Of course, we all know tomorrow is an elimination game, but, to be honest, nothing really changes in this dressing room. I've been on teams for which an elimination game would be daunting, but the belief in this room is so strong that no one is intimidated. To us, it will be just another game. It just has to be our best game in order to force Game 7.

The clear home-ice advantage has helped make this an interesting series, for sure. But we've known all along that we would need to steal at least one on the road. Since we haven't done that yet, we're hoping that the pattern of the home team winning will continue for one more game, but only for one game. Sunday is our last home game of the season, since even if we force Game 7, it'll be in Pittsburgh. I can't imagine what Bridgestone is going to be like, so I won't even try.

The entire town is so alive right now. Not only is Nashville experiencing its first Stanley Cup Final, the CMA Music Festival is going on as well. There are people everywhere, and everyone is so just happy. Even if I'm just inside watching TV or scrolling through social media, I keep seeing all the crazy things happening around town. But even with all the big stars' surprise concerts or street performances taking over, everyone is still talking about the Predators and the atmosphere at Bridgestone Arena.

It's almost like it's all one big event, one big party. It really speaks to what a great job the organization and the city have done to weave the Preds into the existing fabric of Nashville. The enthusiasm is so organic. It's been so cool to see guitarists performing in Preds gear or marquees around town wishing us luck.

That's what has been pushing us the whole way. We know that we are able to inspire people with our playoff run. We know this means a lot to people, and it means a lot to us. We take a lot of pride in the opportunity to bring something to these fans and these people in the city, and we are not going to stop until it is done.

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