Post game with Jeremy K. Gover of the Nashville Predators Radio Network. Includes clips from Pekka Rinne, Filip Forsberg and Peter Laviolette. In the video, Peter Laviolette addresses his line-up decisions.
Tuesday night’s Game 3 for the Nashville Predators was as close to a must-win scenario for the team that was trailing San Jose 2-0 in the series. In front of their home crowd, the Predators dominated en route to a 4-1 victory.
From the start, Nashville came out of the gates roaring and throwing the body. They played with the type of tenacity that was expected out of a team with their backs against the walls. It’s not to say that their effort in Game 2 was not enough, but in going down in the series 2-0, the Predators played the type of desperate hockey that was expected.
“We didn’t know exactly what was going to come,” said Shea Weber. “We talked about Game Two a lot. We liked a lot of the things we did, obviously they got the better result. In the end, if we’re going to do those things and play that way and play that style I think we’ll be successful more times than not.”
“I think it factored in a lot,” said Filip Forsberg on playing with desperation. “We want to play like that all the time, especially in the playoffs. There are no games that you can’t be desperate, that’s the biggest thing in the playoffs.”
What certainly helped get the team over the hump was the power play coming to life in Game 3. Coming into Game 3, the Predators had only tallied two power play goals in the entire playoffs. Tuesday night, they scored twice on the man advantage.
“I think just making sure we’re disciplined, or trying to be [disciplined] because their power play is so dangerous,” said head coach Peter Laviolette. “I thought our PK did a really good job tonight. Our power play was good tonight. It moved around, got some looks. That was the difference in the game, and it had been.”
In the victory, there were also other storylines regarding the line-up the Predators iced on Tuesday. Center Mike Ribeiro was a healthy scratch, Pontus Aberg made his NHL debut, Craig Smith returned to action following injury and Colton Sissons took a dangerous fall but returned to finish the game.
“In regards to [Ribeiro], it was just a lineup decision that I made. [Aberg], I thought, came in and gave us some good speed,” said Laviolette. “He was a good player for Milwaukee down the stretch. He brings speed and skill, and this is a fast game right now against San Jose. I thought he did a good job. I don’t think he had too many minutes, but I think, in saying that, it’s his first game in the National Hockey League. That can be a little bit overwhelming to come into our building with the energy that’s in here, it’s his first playoff game, and we’re down 0-2 in the series. That’s a big piece to bite off for him. I thought he did a really good job just using his speed and playing a good game, a smart game. You can see that he’s got speed and you can see that he’s got skill.”
It will be interesting to see what line-up Peter Laviolette will decide to go with on Thursday for Game 4. With the success the team saw in Game 3, it would be difficult to change it up unless injuries keep players like Smith or Sissons out.
Thursday night’s game is another 8:00pm start at Bridgestone Arena. If the Predators win, they will turn it into a best-of-three series going back to San Jose.
Photo credit: Christina McCullough