Here are three things to watch as the Predators prepare for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday (8 p.m. ET, WBIR):
Two teams, one Cup: The Predators' two victories at Bridgestone Arena have made the Stanley Cup Final a best-of-three series. In order to become the sixth team in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup after falling behind 2-0, Nashville must win at PPG Paints Arena. Pittsburgh is 9-3 at home this postseason, including an active five-game winning streak. The Predators have won five road games during the playoffs, so they aren't intimidated by the situation. "We have to win a road game," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said Tuesday. "There's no other way around it. For three series, we've been able to do that."
Danger zone: Despite losing 4-1, the Penguins' performance in Game 4 was their strongest of the series. The Penguins generated 13 high-danger scoring chances at even strength, according to naturalstattrick.com. They had that many in the first three games combined. Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne withstood that barrage, but Nashville must eliminate those opportunities. "When they got behind us, they were able to do so damage off of that," Laviolette said. "We need to play a little bit tighter than we did (Monday) in those situations."
Where there's a Wilson: Although an unspecified injury has prevented Predators forward Colin Wilson from playing in the Stanley Cup Final, he recently has been skating with his teammates. On Wednesday, Wilson practiced with the Predators' fourth line, suggesting the possibility of a return in Game 5. Wilson's postseason, shortened by two separate absences because of injury, has been quiet compared to his previous playoff exploits. But his presence would further reinforce Nashville's depth advantage.
Reach Adam Vingan at email@example.com and on Twitter @AdamVingan.
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