Facing a 2-0 series deficit in the Stanley Cup Final the Nashville Predators aren’t yet facing a “must-win” situation in its most literal sense, but there is definitely an urgency for them to get on the board in this series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
But the Predators are feeling pretty confident heading into Game 3 on Saturday night due to the home ice advantage they get to experience at Bridgestone Arena that has one of the most unique and raucous environments in the NHL.
“You have to keep it simple,” coach Peter Laviolette said on Saturday morning when asked about the message he delivered to his team.
“Just make sure that we focus on today, not worry about a big picture. We got to win a game. We’re back in our building with our fans. I said yesterday, I still stand by that, there’s things we can do better on the ice. We’ve done some good things, but we’re behind in the series, so that can’t be good enough. There’s some things we can do better. We’ll look to do that today. We have gone over those things yesterday. Keeping it simple today, focusing on what’s been working for us. Like I said, I think getting back in here, the energy is going to be really good in the building tonight. We’ve been good here. A lot of confidence.”
They absolutely have been good at home, and after posting a 24-9-8 record during the regular season the Predators have followed it up with a 7-1 mark this postseason with the only loss coming in overtime against the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference Finals.
Predators forward P.A. Parenteau, who spent time playing in hockey hotbeds Chicago, Montreal and Toronto, called the crowd without question “No. 1 in the NHL.”
It’s not your traditional NHL crowd, and that is a very good thing.
A lot of the people that end up getting inside are probably going to have to spend a small fortune to get inside, too.
Tickets on the secondary market have been going for well above $1,200 leading up to the game, while the ticket scalpers on the street are setting even higher prices and not responding kindly when potential buyers scoff at them, as Sean Gentille of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette discovered on Saturday.
So why is Saturday’s game so big for Nashville? Well, aside from the fact it is the first ever Stanley Cup Final game in the city, it is also a potential turning point in the series. Since the Stanley Cup Final went to a best-of-seven format in 1939 teams that have taken a 2-0 series lead have gone on to win the Stanley Cup 45 out of 50 times (90 percent). Teams that have taken a 2-0 series lead by winning the first two games at home (as the Penguins did with their wins in Games 1 and 2) have won the series 34 out of 37 times (91 percent). Two of the three teams that overcome that deficit, however, happened in the past eight years with the 2009 Penguins coming back against the Detroit Red Wings and the 2010-11 Boston Bruins erasing a 2-0 deficit against the Vancouver Canucks.
Game 3 begins at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can also watch it online via our Live Stream.