The waiting is almost over.
In just a few hours, the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs will begin in Nashville as the Predators host the Dallas Stars in Game 1 of their first-ever postseason meeting. There has been plenty of build-up over the past few days, and the players and coaches are more than ready for the puck to drop.
In the final morning to ask those questions previewing what's to come, here are the best quotes from the Nashville locker room ahead of Game 1.
Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette on the Preds building off of experience from previous playoff runs:
"I personally don't think that it matters [what happened in previous years].I think what matters is when the puck drops tonight, are we good on the offense, do we defend well, are our specialty teams good? There's a lot of things on a checklist in order to win a hockey game. I would just stick to that rather than something that happened four years ago or two years ago or last year with a different group and a different situation with different teams."
Video: Laviolette talks momentum, experience prior to Game 1
Laviolette on having home-ice advantage to begin the playoffs:
"I can't say enough good things about our fans and our fanbase, our building, the Bridgestone Arena. The way we pack it in here, the way we swarm downtown and really bring energy right down to Broadway; for me, it's definitely a place that we want to start. As you saw last year, there's never a guarantee. There are times when you're dominating on home ice... and you see other series where it doesn't matter that much. The best hockey team wins regardless of the building. But I've always said, and you've heard me stay pretty true to this statement, given a choice of starting on the road or at home, I'd rather start at home in Bridgestone Arena."
Defenseman Mattias Ekholm on having Game 1 at home:
"I remember the year we went really far, home ice was where we felt most comfortable and we got the majority of our wins. It's a big thing. We want to get off on the right foot, we want to start the right way and get the crowd into it, we want to have a good start... I just think the message should be that it doesn't have to happen the first two minutes. As long as we play our game I think that's the most important thing."
Video: Forsberg, Rinne and Ekholm discuss Game 1 vs. Stars
Goaltender Pekka Rinne on the team's mindset entering the postseason:
"The biggest thing is to just get out there and start playing. No more waiting around and practicing; it's been nice to have a few practices after the regular season, but I think we're more than ready to start the series and get going."