The Predators are down to their last chance.
Dallas defeated Nashville, 5-3, in Game 5 on Saturday afternoon at Bridgestone Arena to take a 3-2 lead in the Round One series.
The Preds got the first goal in Game 5, but Dallas scored five for the second-consecutive contest and have now won two-straight games after Nashville did the same in Games 2 and 3.
On Saturday, the Predators credited the Stars for playing well, but the errors the home team made on the day didn't fall in their favor, either.
"I don't care how you get fired up for these games, if it's positive or angry or how you want to prepare, we've just got to be better, myself included," Preds goaltender Pekka Rinne said. "It's a huge game on Monday, obviously, with our backs against the wall and not the situation we wanted. But you've got to give some credit to Dallas, they've been playing well and right now I feel like they are taking advantage of our mistakes. It's tough right now."
"It seems like the mistakes that we made were obvious tonight, and once we made them they were in the back of our net," Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. "I don't feel like it was a point where we were under siege, I just felt that when we made a mistake it was costly and it turned over quick, and it had a result to the end of it. Those are the ones we have to clean up."
Video: DAL@NSH, Gm5: Grimaldi beats Bishop from in tight
Nashville's start was ideal as Rocco Grimaldi got the home team on the board just over six minutes into the contest with his team-leading third of the postseason. Dallas evened the score at 13:08 of the opening period with a strike from Jason Dickinson, and then Alexander Radulov scored twice in the first eight minutes of the second stanza to put Dallas up by two.
Video: DAL@NSH, Gm5: Turris nets goal off defender's skate
Ryan Johansen got one back with his first of the playoffs less than two minutes after Radulov's second of the day, but Tyler Seguin made it a two-goal game once more before the second intermission arrived.
"We make it tough on ourselves," Preds defenseman P.K. Subban said. "It's the details that are killing us… We have to work for each other. Once we start doing that, we'll tie the series up."
Dickinson got his second of the game less than a minute into the third, and although Kyle Turris gave the Predators life when he threw a puck toward the net and saw it deflect into the cage, that was as close as Nashville came.
"The bottom line is we're not playing good enough and we need to raise our level - everybody," Rinne said. "Otherwise it's going to be a short, short run. But you don't want to have any regrets and right now we've got to prove it on the ice. We've been talking a lot and we've had enough time to prove it, so now it's time."
It's a new season, and while the Predators aren't about to make comparisons to previous teams that have been in situations such as this, the group certainly has experience when there's no other choice but to win, and they'll use that in any way they can.
"We've played a lot of playoff games, we've been put in these situations and positions before," Laviolette said. "They've answered the bell, they'll answer the bell in Game 6 and we'll bring it back here. This group's got to go and do it. I don't think that we should be relying or hanging our hat, the experience I do believe is good for a team. We now have that experience, but we've got to go there and make sure we do the job as well."
Next, the Predators must put forth their best effort of the series and win on Monday night if they want to extend their playoff run and force a seventh and deciding game - and that's exactly what they plan on doing.
"It sounds like the series is already done with but it's not, it's far from that," Rinne said. "We still have a lot of life left. Like I said, for us it's a good situation. We know we haven't done our best, we haven't played our best, there's a lot of room to improve."
Video: NSH Recap: Predators drop Game 5, season on the brink
After missing Games 2, 3 and 4 due to an appendix procedure, Preds forward Brian Boyle returned to the lineup on Saturday, registering four shots and two hits in 10 minutes of ice time.
In addition to Wayne Simmonds, who missed his third-consecutive game due to a lower-body injury, Nashville scratched Yannick Weber, Rem Pitlick, Miikka Salomaki, Zac Rinaldo, Matt Irwin, Cody McLeod, Frederick Gaudreau and Niclas Westerholm for Game 5.
Game 6 between the Preds and Stars comes Monday night in Dallas, time to be announced soon. If necessary, Nashville will host Game 7 on Wednesday night at Bridgestone Arena.