Predators return home for Game 6 facing elimination by Hurricanes


The Nashville Predators are confident despite facing elimination after a 3-2 overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup First Round on Tuesday.

Game 6 of the best-of-7 series is at Nashville on Thursday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVAS, SN360, BSSO). The home team has won every game in the series.

“We have a tremendous opportunity to build off what’s gone on here in the series,” Predators coach John Hynes said. “We’ve played well as the series has gone on, another overtime game tonight. As usual, been in these situations before, I think we’re programmed, we’re ready, our guys respond. We’ll certainly be ready to go for Game 6.”

Teams that trail 3-1 are 29-292 (9.0 percent) winning a best-of-7 NHL series. Nashville has won one of 10 series trailing by that margin, and Carolina has won all seven of the series it has led.

“The crowd always gives us an extra boost and we know its’ going to be rocking. We have to go home and win one at home,” Predators captain Roman Josi said. “It was a tight game again (on Tuesday). We battled, we worked hard, I liked our team’s effort. It just didn’t go our way tonight.”

Video: Necas, Staal lift Hurricanes to OT victory in Game 5

The Predators led 2-1 with 7:05 remaining in the third period, before Hurricanes forward Martin Necas scored a wraparound goal to tie it 2-2. 

Carolina forward Jordan Staal knocked the puck out of the air for a 4-on-4 goal 2:03 into overtime.

“It was fun. Overtime, obviously, at home, especially with what we’ve gone through the past couple games,” Staal said. “To get a big one like that felt really good, but we’ve still got some work to do.”

Forward Yakov Trenin, who scored the Predators goals in Game 5, said they need to be relentless in Game 6.

“Play as we’ve played in home games,” he said. “Always put pressure on them, don’t let them get out of the zone. Put them on their heels. Just attack, attack.”

Nashville won Games 3 and 4 in double overtime after losing Games 1 and 2. The Predators were next to last in the Discover Central Division on March 15 then went 18-6-1 in their final 25 games to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs as its No. 4 seed.

They won Games 6 and 7 against the Anaheim Ducks in the 2016 Western Conference First Round.

“A couple of adjustments, but I know our guys will be ready to go,” Hynes said. “You take the things out of this game. There are certainly some things we did really well, certainly things we can do better. The thing I like about the group, as you’ve seen over the last 2 1/2 months, when we’re in situations like this, is our ability to refocus, put it behind us, get better.”

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