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Preds Back to Work as Stanley Cup Final Approaches

Captain Mike Fisher Joins Teammates On Ice; Pekka Rinne Ready for Taste of Final

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Communications & Content Coordinator

By sunrise, they'll be one of two.

For the first time since becoming Western Conference champions, the Nashville Predators took to the ice in preparation for their first Stanley Cup Final appearance next week. Their opponent - either Ottawa or Pittsburgh - will be determined after the two participate in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Final on Thursday night.

Indeed, the Predators realize how fortunate they are to be in their current position. They've shown that it doesn't matter how a team finishes in the regular season. What matters is how the club responds to the toughest challenges they can possibly face.

And because of Nashville's efforts, they had practice today. On May 25.

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Craig Smith at Preds Practice; Perhaps Nearing Return

Forward Last Played in Game Three of Round One, But Has Returned to Practice

by Thomas Willis @TomAWillis / Digital Manager & Producer

Craig Smith was a full participant in Thursday's practice, perhaps marking a step closer to returning to the Predators lineup.

The forward hasn't played since Game Three of Round One against the Chicago Blackhawks due to a lower-body injury. He's since joined the team on the ice for some of their morning skates, but today's involvement in a full practice was a first.

"I think the guys have been playing awesome; I definitely want to make a difference and chip in," said Smith, who has one assist in three postseason games.

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The Shift: How 83 Seconds Helped the Preds Win Game Three

Majority of Predators Roster Factors Into Goal; Record TV Ratings in Nashville; Preds Partner with Teamworks

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Communications & Content Coordinator

Predators score on long shift

Predators tally on long shift in Blues' zone

The Predators circle the puck in the zone to force a long shift for the Blues defense, as Roman Josi finishes with a one-timer from distance

  • 02:17 •

When the puck entered the offensive zone with 7:13 remaining in regulation time of Game Three, not a single member of the Nashville Predators who eventually factored into their third and final goal of the game had hit the ice yet.

In fact, Austin Watson had time to enter the zone, complete his shift and return to the bench, all before play eventually stopped when Roman Josi's shot hit twine - 83 seconds after Viktor Arvidsson first pursued the puck.

At the 6:43 mark, Filip Forsberg looked to the bench for a swap in favor of Harry Zolnierczyk, completing the change with his linemates Watson and Mike Fisher. With 5:55 left, Fisher and Watson were gone, and Zolnierczyk knew time was almost up for him, too.

"I could tell that I had lost my centerman and winger, and so now I'm looking to ultimately make my change to complete the full change," Zolnierczyk said. "But it just happened that we still had some juice left."

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After Suffering First Playoff Loss, Preds Ready to Bounce Back

Predators Say They Have More to Give as Series Shifts to Nashville

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Communications & Content Coordinator

It was bound to happen eventually.

Ryan Ellis conceded the fact at his stall in the visiting locker room on Friday night, just moments after the Nashville Predators ended up on the wrong side of the scoresheet for the first time in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The goal, of course, is to win every time the Preds step on the ice, but the law of averages say that they puck doesn't always bounce your way.

"I don't think we expected to win 16 games straight and walk off with the Stanley Cup," Ellis said after Game Two.

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Colin Wilson Nearing Return for Predators

The Winger Has Turned in Strong Performances at Practice; Led Preds in Playoff Points in 2016

by Thomas Willis @TomAWillis / Digital Manager & Producer

Colin Wilson said he was dying to take the ice when he felt the energy inside Bridgestone Arena and saw the light show leading up to Game Three of the Predators' Round One series.

The forward had missed the first two games of the playoff matchup with the Blackhawks - and the final two contests of the regular season - with a lower-body injury and suiting up for Nashville wasn't going to be an option just yet. But that didn't stop him from being a bit irrational when he saw his teammates greeted with a deafening decibel as they skated through the Pred Head outside of the Lexus Lounge.

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Preds Return to Practice, Prep for Blues in Round Two

Preparations for the Second Round Are Underway; Pekka Rinne Honored by PHWA

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Communications & Content Coordinator

Chances were already high that the Nashville Predators would be jetting off to the state of Missouri sometime this week, but when the St. Louis Blues scored in overtime to defeat the Minnesota Wild early Saturday evening, the meeting was confirmed.

The Preds and the Blues will get together in the Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in what will be the first postseason meeting between the Central Division foes.

After two well-earned days off thanks to a sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks in Round One, the Predators were back on the ice on Sunday as preparations began to face a St. Louis team that needed only five games to defeat Minnesota.

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Preds Want to Play Desperate Against Desperate Blackhawks in Game Four

Rolling Four Lines Has Been Key to Nashville's Success; Pekka Rinne's Unbelievable Save

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Communications & Content Coordinator

So close, yet so far.

The Nashville Predators are just one win away from doing something they haven't done in the history of the franchise - sweep a series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

That opportunity exists tomorrow night when the Preds host the Chicago Blackhawks in Game Four of their Round One series at Bridgestone Arena, and with a commanding 3-0 series lead, Nashville could punch its ticket to the Second Round with a victory.

And the Predators would prefer to not give the Hawks one inkling of hope.

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Shot Blocking Helps Preds Deliver Win in Game One

Nashville Blocked 26 Shots in Game One, A Crucial Factor in the Victory

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Communications & Content Coordinator

Pekka Rinne stopped all 29 shots the Chicago Blackhawks were able to get through to him in Game One, but the goaltender's Nashville Predators teammates prevented plenty more from finding a way through.

The Preds recorded 26 blocked shots in total during their 1-0 win over Chicago on Thursday night to begin the Round One series, the highest total of any of the 16 teams through one game in the playoffs.

It's a statistic that tells Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette two things: one, his club spent too much time in their own zone, but secondly, his players were willing to do whatever it took to take a 1-0 series lead.

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Preds Fully Prepped, Practiced Prior to Series

GM David Poile Feels Predators Turned a Corner Late in the Regular Season

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Communications & Content Coordinator

For three days, the Nashville Predators have studied film, adjusted systems and prepared in every way possible. Now, it's time to execute.

The team concluded their final practice on Wednesday before jetting to Chicago in advance of their Round One series against the Blackhawks, set to begin on Thursday at the United Center.

A stretch of three-straight days of practice hasn't been available since training camp, and the period was used to the Preds full advantage, as Nashville looks to win their first series in three tries against the Hawks.

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Veterans Fisher, Rinne Share Confidence in Preds

Nashville's Captain and Goaltender Ready to Embrace Challenge of Facing Chicago in Round One

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Communications & Content Coordinator

Mike Fisher has always been confident in his hockey club.

In his first season as captain of the Nashville Predators, the 36-year-old centerman had to answer tough questions in the first few weeks of the season after the team got off to a rocky start despite high preseason expectations.

Were they actually as good as everyone thought they would be? Could they find a way to reach the postseason for the third consecutive try?

Fisher never wavered in his belief, and in the end, he was right. So now, with the Chicago Blackhawks awaiting the Preds and a Round One series set to begin on Thursday at the United Center, Fisher still has that same confidence. And while the Predators carry respect for their opponent, they also know what they have inside their own room.

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