Photo by Tayhlor Stephenson / Assistant Lifestyles Editor
The Nashville Predators returned to Bridgestone Arena on Sunday night with hopes of extending their postseason run with a Game 6 victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins. After nearly 58 minutes of scoreless skating, the Preds fell just short of the Stanley Cup in a heartbreaking 2-0 defeat.
The game was scoreless through nearly the first hour of the game before a former friend dealt the final blow. Former Predator Patric Hornqvist scored the game-winning goal for the Penguins, assisted by Justin Schultz and Chris Kunitz.
The nail in the coffin was driven in by Pittsburgh’s Carl Hagelin, who scored a breakaway goal on an empty net to bring the score to 2-0 and clinch the Penguins’ second straight cup.
The Predators’ magical run to the Final began with a dominant, four-game sweep of the top-seeded Chicago Blackhawks, a team that many believed Nashville would be lucky to win a single game against. Kevin Fiala provided the most memorable score in the series with his game-winning goal in overtime in the Preds’ 3-2 Game 3 victory.
Goaltender Pekka Rinne continued his stellar play into the second round, as the Preds faced a Central Division rival in the St. Louis Blues. After taking a commanding 3-1 series lead, Nashville finished the Blues off in Game 6 with a 3-1 victory and punched their ticket to the franchise’s first-ever appearance in the Western Conference Finals.
Facing the Anaheim Ducks, James Neal got Nashville off to a good start in the series with an overtime goal to give the Preds a 1-0 series lead. After four more games that saw each team give their all, it was an unlikely hero that gave Nashville a boost when it needed it most.
Colton Sissons’ hat trick in Game 6 gave the Predators the juice they needed to make it to the Stanley Cup Final, where the season finished tonight in disappointing fashion.
Regardless of the final outcome, this has been a historic year for the Nashville Predators. After earning the title of Western Conference Champions and making their first-ever Stanley Cup Final appearance, they will have some time to relax and be with loved ones before making preparations for next season.
To contact Sports Editor Rusty Ellis, email firstname.lastname@example.org.