The Nashville Predators returned home to Tennessee on Monday afternoon where they were greeted by a group of fans at Nashville International Airport, excited to see their team in person for the first time in a week.
The Preds are looking forward to seeing a few thousand more supporters tomorrow night at Bridgestone Arena for Game Three between the Preds and San Jose Sharks.
“We have a bunch of fans outside chanting, ‘Let’s go Preds’ right now, so that brings some juice back to you,” center Ryan Johansen said. “Knowing that you’re back home, you can use that as a boost, some energy and hopefully take care of business at home.”
Coming home down 2-0 in the series against the Sharks wasn’t how the Predators had planned things, but that’s the situation they find themselves in heading into Game Three. Nashville is now hoping for a reversal of sorts; they found themselves up 2-0 against Anaheim in Round One, only to see the Ducks win the next three games.
“It’s not the position that we want to be in; I think it’s important that we just focus on one game, and you never know what happens when a series unfolds,” Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “You don’t know if you’ll be up or you’ll be down, and you’ve just got to keep your nose down, keep doing the work and good things can happen. We come back home, our building has been a great place for us, and we’re looking forward to getting in front of our fans and playing a big game.”
The Preds can take confidence in their effort in Game Two. Even though they didn’t get the win, the structure was present in their game, something the team can continue to build on headed into Game Three.
“It’s not over; there’s a big game tomorrow night, and our players know that,” Laviolette said. “I think I said it after Game Five when we lost [to Anaheim], we can take a lot of confidence from some of the things that we did. You can’t be happy we lost the game, but we can take confidence from that and build on it, try to get better. We realize that we have an important game tomorrow night, and we’ll do our best to win a hockey game and get ourselves back in the series. Before you can win a series, you have to win one game and that’s where we’re at right now. We have to get ourselves on the board.”
After spending the day on an airplane, and the last six days on the West Coast, the Preds will take all the rest they can get before the puck drops on Broadway tomorrow night. There’s still lots of hockey to be played, something that hasn’t been lost within the group.
“I liked our game last game in San Jose, and if we polish up a few things and just try and play a more complete game, I have no doubt we’ll be successful,” Johansen said. “It’s all about getting some rest tonight, hang out with my dog, lay on the couch a little bit and refocus, re-energize and get back on the ice.”