In a few hours time, Bridgestone Arena is going to be rockin’.
The Nashville Predators, up 2-0 in their playoff series to boot, will host their first game of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs tonight against the Anaheim Ducks. Anointed in Gold, the arena sits empty now, awaiting more than 17,000 Preds fans to cheer on the team they’ve watched steal two games in California over the weekend.
Leading a playoff round 2-0 for the first time in franchise history, Preds players are expecting a little bit more from their supports that help make up one of the loudest venues in the NHL.
“For sure, from past years and experiences in playoffs, it hits a whole other level in this building,” Mike Fisher said following the Predators morning skate on Tuesday. “We can’t wait to feed off the energy of the crowd and get a good start here at home… We know all our fans are going to be jacked up, we’re excited to see it tonight”
“I’m sure this building is going to be [electric],” forward Cody Bass said. “It’s a loud building to play in, it’s a fun atmosphere. I think for our group we have to control our emotions, come out hard, smart and stay disciplined.”
While the Preds certainly plan on using the electricity within their home office to their advantage, they also maintain that they haven’t accomplished anything just yet. The sentiment from the Nashville room is that while the 2-0 series lead is ideal, they still expect another push from the Ducks, something the Preds have to be prepared for from the opening puck drop tonight.
“We’re focusing on this game and this game only, nothing outside of the series,” Fisher said. “We know how important this game is for both teams. They’re going to be flying tonight and will be desperate. We have to match that desperation and play harder than we did in Game Two.”
A 3-0 series lead is appetizing, and the Preds are hoping to use both the preparation within the locker room, combined with the passion of their fans to get club one step closer to their goal.
“We played a couple of solid road games, we had some timely scoring and great goaltending when we needed it, but that being said, we realize we have to continue to get better if we want to win the series,” Fisher said. “We have to be better here at home in Game Three. We’re expecting their best tonight.”