The Predators returned home Sunday to a Hero’s Welcome after Saturday night’s 3-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals.
The Predators won despite being without two of their top forwards, Mike Fisher and Ryan Johansen, to injury. The Preds now lead the series 3-2 and have a golden opportunity to close out the series at home Monday night in Game 6.
“There’s no pressure on us [to close out the series]," said Predators defenseman Roman Josi. “We’re all excited, [playing in] the playoffs has been so much fun.”
The Preds definitely won’t have Johansen available for game six, and they likely won’t have Fisher either, but the team is counting on their raucous fans to give them a boost and help will them to victory against a Ducks team desperate to keep their season alive.
“Our fans have been great all playoffs,” said Head Coach Peter Laviolette. “We’re going to need them again [Monday] night.”
If the Predators win Monday, they’ll head to the Stanley Cup Final to face the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Ottawa Senators (Penguins lead the series 3-2 after a 7-0 win on Sunday). If the Predators lose, they’ll have to go back to Anaheim for a game seven Wednesday night.
The Boys from Smashville hope the trip back to California won’t be necessary.