On Thursday night in Nashville the Jets and Predators will play the seventh and deciding game in a ridiculously close series that has more than lived up to the pre-series hype.
The stakes are obvious: Win and get a Western Conference Final matchup with the Vegas Golden Knights. Lose and you go home.
It will also continue what has been a fiercely contested head-to-head matchup between the two teams going back to the regular season.
Thursday’s game (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN) will be the 12th meeting between the teams this season and the overall numbers are so close it is almost laughable how little margin there is between the two teams. Up until the past two games (a Jets 6-2 win in Nashville and a Predators 4-0 win in Winnipeg) just about every game has been within a single goal for the majority of the time.
Some numbers to ponder ahead of puck drop:
- The Predators enter Thursday’s game having won six of the head-to-head games. The Jets have won five.
- The Jets have scored 42 goals in the season-long series. The Predators have scored 40.
- The Jets have recorded 403 shots on goal to the Predators’ 393.
- The Jets have attempted 732 total shot attempts (all situations) to the Predators’ 710.
- The two teams have played 690 minutes of hockey against one another this year. In 474 of those minutes (70 percent) the score has been within a single goal. In 260 minutes (nearly 40 percent) the score has been tied.
It would be almost impossible for two teams to play that many games in the span of one season and be any more even than these two have been, and that seems quite fitting given that they finished the regular season as the top-two teams in the NHL.
While everybody loves the idea of a Game 7, and the very premise of a winner-take-all game is incredibly exciting to think about, they are not always great games. A lot of times (probably more than we care to admit) they can quickly turn into blowouts.
Based on everything that has happened between these two teams this season it should be a pretty big shock if this game turned out to be anything other than a classic.