NASHVILLE - The Nashville Predators will take the ice Monday night in the team's first Stanley Cup Final.
The Predators, or "Preds," of the National Hockey League, are the hottest team in the NHL right now.
With many Tennesseans boarding the bandwagon of fandom for the team, we thought it would be a good idea to share some reasons why you should jump on too.
First, you need to know the basics:
Preds History and Info
The Preds are in the Central Division of the Western Conference.
The organization was formed in the 1998-99 season as an expansion team for the NHL. So in other words, the Preds are not a relocation team like the Oklahoma City Thunder of the NBA (They were originally the Seattle Supersonics). The Preds are Nashville, or "Smashville," through-and-through.
Now, let's get to why you may want to root for them.
All aboard the bandwagon
History and Great Hockey - As mentioned before, the Preds have made history in their 10th playoff appearance as a franchise. The Preds swept the Western Conference favorite, the Chicago Blackhawks, in the opening series of the playoffs. Most recently, they defeated another well established franchise, the St. Louis Blues, with a 4-2 series win. In other words, the Preds are a bit of a Cinderella story rolling through one of the toughest paths to the Stanley Cup.
If the simple fact that they're playing great hockey is not good enough to get you on board, maybe country music will.
Hockey goes country - You're probably not going to go to an Anaheim Ducks game and hear Carrie Underwood or Vince Gill during your fan shenanigans. With the Preds being immersed in the heart of country music, they often get visits from country stars and you sometimes get to hear these stars sing the national anthem.
The following have performed the anthem in this season's playoffs:
- Carrie Underwood
- Luke Bryan
- Little Big Town
- Vince Gill and his daughters Corinna and Jenny
- Lady Antebellum
Also, Carrie Underwood is married to Predators captain Mike Fisher.
The sad life of a Tennessee sports fan - College athletics aside, if you're a fan of professional sports in Tennessee, you're not used to seeing success at a high level.
The NFL's Tennessee Titans have made a Super Bowl and two AFC championships, but haven't won a playoff game since the 2008-09 season.
The NBA's Memphis Grizzlies have seen their franchise winning a lot lately, but were recently bounced from the first round of the playoffs to the San Antonio Spurs. The Grizzlies have been in the playoffs seven straight seasons, but have only advanced to one conference final and no further.
Ultimately, the Preds are on track to bring something a professional sports fan in Tennessee hasn't seen: a championship.
The Predators await to see who their opponent will be as they continue to skate towards history. They will face either the Anaheim Ducks or Edmonton Oilers who face off in their final game of the series on Wednesday.
With the CMT Music Festival being moved from Bridgestone Arena due to the Predators success, the country music city is now a certified home for hockey.
2017 Stanley Cup Final schedule:
Game 1 is set for Monday at 8 p.m. on Channel 10.
Games 2 and 3 will air on NBCSN, with Game 4 airing on NBC.
If necessary, Games 5, 6 and 7 will all air on Chanel 10. All games begin at 8 p.m.
Game 1 – Monday, May 29 on NBC
Game 2 – Wednesday, May 31 on NBCSN
Game 3 – Saturday, June 3 on NBCSN
Game 4 – Monday, June 5 on NBC
Game 5 – Thursday, June 8 on NBC (if necessary)
Game 6 – Sunday, June 11 on NBC (if necessary)
Game 7 – Wednesday, June 14 on NBC (if necessary)
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