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Preds On Verge Of History Entering Game 5

Posted: 5:23 PM, May 05, 2017
Updated: 2017-05-05 18:28:56-04

The Predators have a chance to make franchise history tonight in game five against the Blues, but it will not be easy.

The fourth and final win in a series is always the most difficult to secure and that is especially the case when you've played hockey for nearly two decades and never advanced past the second round.

With a win tonight, the Predators will advance to the first Western Conference Final in team history. That's a feat that is not lost on the players.

"I think everybody's aware of it," Defenseman Roman Josi said. "But, it's going to be a tough game and we're not thinking about the big picture tonight. We're thinking about winning a hockey game."

Nashville's only had this opportunity in round two once before, last year in a 5-0 game seven loss at San Jose. This time around they have a cushion thanks to the 3-1 series lead.

The Preds need only to win one of three potential games remaining in this series to advance. But they're not interested in the safety net, they want to show a killer instinct tonight.

"Something you work for all year to obviously win the first round and then get three games in the second," forward James Neal said. "We have a chance to get to the next round tonight, but you don't want to give them any life. They have their backs against the wall and will do anything they can to take this back to Nashville."

The Blues have not backed down in this series, probably displaying their best form in game four. But that's little consolation to a team that was one of the hottest teams in hockey and now finds itself on the brink of elimination.

"We lost the game, so I don't want to pay ourselves on the back too hard," Blues head coach Mike Yep said. "But by our account we outchanced them, we stepped up our physical game, we stepped up our compete."

That aggression only figures to be get amplified as the Blues return home in front of a sold out Scottrade Center. It will be up to the Predators to take a crowd looking to will it's team on out of the game.

The Preds have done a great job of jumping out to leads in this series, scoring first in all four contests. That's meant the Blues have had to chase each game, having only held a lead for 3:51 in the entire series.

A quick start by the Preds again in game five could be a backbreaker for St. Louis.

"Obviously, we'd love to get the first goal and never look back," defenseman Ryan Ellis said. "But the whole game's 60 minutes. We're going to have to be good, we're going to have to play hard and execute our gameplan."

It's a gameplan that's worked near flawlessly through the first eight games of the playoffs. Stick to that tonight and the Preds can make history.

The old saying is if you just get into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, anything can happen.

After 18 seasons, "anything" may finally mean a deep playoff run for the Predators.