Two of the most wonderful words in the vernacular of a hockey fan. The Nashville Predators will host the Winnipeg Jets in the final game of the Western Conference semifinals on Thursday night. The winner will take on the expansion Vegas Golden Knights for the right to play in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Nashville and Winnipeg were the top two teams in the regular season, as Nashville won the Presidents Trophy for the most points with 117, and Winnipeg was a close second with 114.
Down 3-2 to the Jets in the series, Nashville saved its season Monday in Game 6 with a 4-0 win in Winnipeg as Predators center Filip Forsberg lit the lamp twice. The series is now tied 3-3 with Game 7 tonight at Bridgestone Arena at 8 p.m. ET.
— NHL (@NHL) May 8, 2018
“You can never have more fun than playing these elimination games and [in the] Stanley Cup playoffs,” said Forsberg to NHL.com. “I just try to enjoy it as much as possible.”
One player who didn’t finish the game and may not be available for Game 7 for Nashville is Mike Fisher, who left the game early in the first period.
“I don’t have any update,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said to NHL.com. “We’re just getting back here right now, so we’ll sift through everything where our guys are at. If we need to come out with something we will.”
Depending on the result, Thursday’s game could be the last one in Fisher’s career. Last season, he announced his retirement after losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals.
“The excitement of being able to be with my family more and being able to do things with my son and other things that I know God has for me,” Fisher told Sports Spectrum. “I knew it was the right decision and through the whole thing someone reminded me of a verse: ‘Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart (Colossians 3:15).’ And to me, once I knew I had that, then I knew it was the right decision.”
But the itch to win the Cup drove the 17-year veteran back to the rink. Now with the deciding game at home, Fisher, 37, hopes his team and the Nashville faithful can push the Predators to the back to the conference finals.
“It’s a whole new game,” Nashville captain Roman Josi said. “We’re happy about the win [in Game 6], but that game is over with. I know we have to be even better on Thursday because [the Jets are] going to play great. It’s going to be a really tough game, and I think we’ve got to even step up our game. But we’re excited for it.”
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