The way the Nashville Predators have played at Bridgestone Arena this season, it shouldn’t be a surprise that coach Peter Laviolette would love to see his team win the Central Division, and maybe even end up with the top seed in the Western Conference (or the league, for that matter) for the playoffs.
“I can speak from experience that home ice matters,” Laviolette said, per NHL.com. “It’s not always a slam dunk guarantee if you get home ice and you get to a Game 7, but to start in your building and play one more game in your building is an advantage. There’s the odd year that bucks that system where road teams have the upper hand, but statistically speaking home ice is a positive factor. It certainly has been for us this year.”
The Preds are 28-8-2 at home compared to 19-14-6 on the road. With a win tonight versus Vancouver, they’d move five points up on the Blues for first in the Central, and also to within one point of the conference- and league-leading Ducks.
Laviolette mentioned the “odd year that bucks the system.” Like, say, last year, when six of the seven Game 7s were won by the visitors. (Three times by the Kings.)
In fact, dating back to 2008-09, the visitors are a remarkable 20-13 in Game 7.
PS — The Preds have never played a Game 7.
PPS — The last time Laviolette coached a Game 7 at home, things went rather well for his team: