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Preds Keep Perspective, Ready for Next Chapter of Stanley Cup Final

Down 3-2 in the Cup Final, Nashville Prepares for Do-Or-Die Game Six

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Communications & Content Coordinator

Everyone knows the situation.

A consequence of a loss in Game Five of the Stanley Cup Final on Thursday night, the Nashville Predators have no choice but to win two games to earn the prize. No more room for error, no more time to wait for another opportunity.

Are the odds in their favor? Perhaps not. But in a sport as unpredictable as hockey, a sport that has seen just about any and every scenario play out in its final series over the years, do the odds ever matter?

Consider the fact that since 2001, in a Stanley Cup Final that has been tied 2-2, the club that lost Game Five has rebounded to win it all in four of eight instances. That would include Nashville's current opponent, who were blown out in Detroit in Game Five of the 2009 Final, only to win Games Six and Seven.

It's certainly possible, and it's the only scenario left for the Predators, starting with Game Six on Sunday night.

"I think it's important to fix things, especially today," Nashville Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. "That's the good thing about having a couple days is that you get an opportunity to look at things, present things and talk about things that maybe need to be better. We did that. We'll talk about things that we've done well moving forward.

"[Game Five] is behind us. We're focusing on the next one now, and I think we understand what we need to do to be better. Right now is about getting the guys ready for that game that's coming up in a couple days."

Video: Preds reflect on Game 5 loss in Pittsburgh

The work that took place Friday came in the form of a video session with Laviolette and his staff breaking down what was, admittedly, filled with plenty of things the Predators can do better against Pittsburgh. But now that the tape has been shown, it's time to flush it and move on.

"[Thursday's] game will have nothing to do with how our next game is going to go," Preds defenseman Yannick Weber said. "We definitely have to look at a few things, and we know we weren't at our best. I think they kind of took a page out of our way to play and it erupted in our face, but we know what we did wrong and we know we have to be better next game."

It was just a week ago when the Predators returned home down 0-2 to the Penguins, the first time they had lost consecutive games in the postseason. Goaltender Pekka Rinne perhaps said it best between Games Two and Three when he proclaimed, despite the situation, that it was June, and the Preds were still playing hockey.

Many of Rinne's teammates echoed that sentiment today, perhaps a necessary reminder that the series isn't over until one club collects four victories.

"It's June 9 and we're still playing hockey," Weber said. "We're back at home where we feel comfortable and we know we can have success… We've shown during the playoffs if we do play the way we have to and play to our strength and our system, we can have success."

Video: Laviolette: Preds have parts of their game to improve

In the Stanley Cup Playoffs - and especially at this point - it's always important to keep things in perspective. Laviolette has plenty of experience with that over his career, and in his third Stanley Cup Final, he offered a view on Friday filled with composure, the same stoic demeanor his team has had through the entire run.

"You know, the thing about the playoffs, if we win Games Three and Four, then for sure we're going to win Game Five, right? And it just doesn't work that way in the playoffs," Laviolette explained. "You know, every game is its own chapter. It's its own slice of the pie, and you've got to go out and fight for that slice every day and be ready to write that chapter. The last chapter doesn't have anything to do with it.

"I think our guys will be ready to do that. They get a couple days off here, what happened in Game Five is gone. We know what we need to do in Game Six. We know how we're capable of playing, especially in our building here, and we'll look to get ourselves a big win."

The 11th and final home game of these playoffs - the final game of the 2016-17 season at Bridgestone Arena - is almost here. Without a doubt, it is the biggest game in franchise history.

And on Sunday, June 11, the Predators will still be playing hockey. 

"You have to realize that the sun came up today," forward Colin Wilson said. "It's a tough spot, but we're playing in June right now and life's good."

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