Now the Predators, who entered the playoffs with the lowest point total of any team in the West, will play in their first Stanley Cup Final in team history against either defending champion Pittsburgh or Ottawa.
A pair of empty-netters made the final score 6-3, which doesn't come close to reflecting how close this game was or how Anaheim had the Predators on their heels for almost the whole thing. The Anaheim captain was held to a single assist in the last four games of the series and failed to score even once throughout the conference final.
No player deserves a trip to the Final more than Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne. They lost their top center, Ryan Johansen, for the playoffs after Game 4 because of emergency surgery on his left thigh. But playing at home, where the Predators had lost only once in the playoffs in the last two years, they had the so-called seventh man back in their corner.
As the clock ticked down, fans began shouting, "We want the Cup".
"I assume there's probably gonna be 100 or 200 people that are gonna come up with counterfeit tickets that probably spent a lot of money on them", Sean Henry, President and CEO of the Nashville Predators said.
Special accomplishments: Predators coach Peter Laviolette became the fourth coach to lead three different teams (Carolina Hurricanes, Philadelphia Flyers and Predators) to the Stanley Cup Final, while general manager David Poile will be making his first appearance.More news: Margaret Court can't bring herself to be inclusive
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"Our guys know the big picture", he said of his Predators.
The teams that feel the most pain in the hockey playoffs also have less time to overcome it.
Ottawa has relied on a bit of both during its deepest playoff run in a decade and Anderson helped force Game 7 on Thursday night.
He joined Canada's squad for the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union after Game 1, finishing with a series-best plus-7 defensive rating while acting as a key part of Canada's penalty-killing unit. He posted a less-than-impressive.906 save percentage in 14 games past year, including 12 goals against on 71 shots (.831) in the final three games of a second-round loss to San Jose. Nashville answered back in the third period. But Sissons, who scored on the third shot of the game, found the net twice in a wild third period to give the Predators a 3-2 lead at the three-minute mark and 4-3 three minutes later. We've been through some challenges together, and we stuck together no matter what. Empty net goals by Filip Forsberg and Austin Watson sealed the deal.
Rinne, no doubt. His 38 saves won the Predators this game and the series.
Ondrej Kase scored his second career goal - both in this series - giving Anaheim a chance to tie the National Hockey League record with a fifth rally when trailing by multiple goals. Chris Wagner banked the puck off Rinne's head for a goal at 5:00 of the third to keep the Ducks close. And the 6-foot-5 Finn used his big body to turn away shot after shot even with the Ducks trying to crash the net every opportunity. Plus, with the Country Music Association festival coming to town and leading into the second weekend of June, the Preds and CMA are working with the city to plan some of the most impressive parties Nashville has ever seen.