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Preds Far From Satisfied as Round Two Looms

Nashville Believes They Still Have Plenty More to Accomplish as They Prepare to Face St. Louis

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Communications & Content Coordinator

They can't get no satisfaction. At least not yet.

It's no secret the Nashville Predators have done well for themselves in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs thus far. Sure, the Preds locker room was jovial after completing the franchise's first-ever series sweep last week, but even moments after the Round Two berth was secured, another attitude was also present, no matter whose stall one paid a visit to.

The Predators know what the postseason entails, and a laser-like focus was already emanating by the time the media entered the room to discuss what was, and what is still to come. And it's that mindset, the Preds hope, which will continue to help them in Round Two against St. Louis.

It was around this time last year that the Preds had defeated the Anaheim Ducks in seven games, the first such victory in club history. Just as a team learns and grows on the ice, it's how they handle situations such as those, that can change from year to year, and many believe it has.

"Last year, I felt like we won that Game Seven in Anaheim and everyone was so pumped," defenseman Mattias Ekholm said. "We hadn't been to the Second Round in a long time, and now the expectations on ourselves are greater than that. I don't think anyone feels satisfied. We're pleased and we're happy with the way we played in the First Round, but we've forgotten about that. Now we're just looking ahead, and we want to keep climbing and keep taking steps as a franchise."

The mental part of the game can be just as important as the physical aspects. In the postseason, the intensity seems to ratchet up every night, so does the mentality follow in turn as well?

"It's just the attention to detail, I think, just make sure you're as sharp as possible," center Ryan Johansen said. "You have to make sure your focus is sharp and you're limiting your mistakes as much as you can. Plus, just try and play as smart a hockey game as possible. I think at this time of year, the attention to detail is so important."

Video: Ekholm, Fisher, Forsberg & Rinne talk Preds vs. Blues

Pekka Rinne has been through almost every memorable postseason experience the Predators have ever had. The 34-year-old netminder doesn't necessarily believe in comparing different years to one another - as every instance brings its own set of particulars - but learning and evolving as a team through different scenarios can only help.

"In anybody's career, you're going to have your ups and downs, and you're going to learn from your defeats," Rinne said. "You're going to go through those things, and I think when you go through it as a team, it's good for you. Last year, it was an empty feeling after that Game Seven loss in San Jose. Now we're in the same situation, going back to the Second Round.

"The biggest thing, too, even though there's a lot of fans going crazy and the whole city is supporting us, I feel like us players stay pretty even-keeled, and I think that's a good sign. That's a great thing, and that's how it should be. We haven't don't anything yet, and I think that's the mindset we've been having."

It's that mentality which is driving the Preds right into Game One against the Blues, which will take place Wednesday night in St. Louis.

"If you want to move on, you have to [think] just one game at a time," forward Filip Forsberg said. "We haven't done anything yet, so we want to just get ready and gear up for Game One. That's all we're focused about right now."

Make no mistake, the Predators are confident, but they're not floating in the clouds quite yet either. For now, they'll worry about the next game, the next period, the next shift.

It's worked so far in these playoffs.

"We need to find ways to keep winning hockey games and moving forward," Johansen said. "There's nothing we're satisfied with right now and we've still got a lot to prove."

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