My Nashville Predators are now officially the top dogs in Central this season. Take the records of the Wild, Blackhawks, Blues, and fire them out of a cannon! Because we made it the farthest in the playoffs. That’s what will be remembered more.
Which brings me to what this afternoon’s Game 6 means. With a 4-2 series win over the St. Louis Blues we have reached the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history! This is an official benchmark for our hockey team. At the very least, we are officially more accomplished than the Capitals when you factor in how short our history is. Although perhaps I shouldn’t have taken shot since they do seem to have shown signs of life in their last three games against the Pens (plus, cappin’ the Caps is an old hat at this point).
This series started kind of surprisingly. We split the opening two in St. Louis with both teams’ goalies, Pekka Rinne and Jake Allen, suddenly letting quite a few pucks into the net. Were they going cold?
No, this became a series of defensive standoffs after switching to Nashville. Both Rinne and Allen became walls in front of their nets. To say that points were at a premium would be like saying that a few people were surprised to see us sweep Chicago.
I suspected that Game 6 would decide the series because if we lost that, the Blues would have home ice and a 2-game streak on us in a “win or go home” finale. And with a 1-0 lead after the first period expired, we seemed to be headed for that situation. But Rinne stepped up. So did Allen, really. I didn’t like seeing all those breakaways and power play chances happen without goals being scored. Still, Peter Laviolette seemed to make adjustments that enabled us to capitalize on our speed to close out this series with a 3-1 single-game win over the Blues.
I’m now about to watch the Ducks and Oilers go at it! Our next opponents could be determined tonight. Welcome to Smashville!