The Nashville Predators have advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in team history, with a 6-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Ending the regular season, the Predators were the 16th team to make it into the playoffs. As a Wild Card team, the Predators swept the #1 Seed, the Chicago Blackhawks, then went on to beat the St. Louis Blues and the Anaheim Ducks in 6 games. Every game of the past two series were hotly contested, but the Predators saved their best hockey for the end of the year and were no match. Watching this hockey team can make anyone a fan. People find themselves rooting for the Predators.
The team, or rather the city, has never been in this situation before and the reactions show after the Preds scored their 5th goal in Game 6.
The players couldn’t contain their excitement realizing how close they were to a Stanley Cup appearance. The fan base could not contain their excitement either. This city has been through many seasons, in not just hockey but in all sports, that have not ended in championships. The last visit to a championship for Tennessee/Nashville came from the Tennessee Titans when they lost to the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV.
Since then, the Titans haven’t made the playoffs since 2008. A look at the rest of the seasons by sports in Tennessee shows a lot of sad endings. The Memphis Grizzlies farthest advancement into the playoffs was in 2012-2013 when they lost in the Conference Finals to the San Antonio Spurs. The only championships have come from the Tennessee Volunteers in their football program and women’s basketball program. The Volunteers won the BCS Championship in 1998, which was their last title, and in 2008 for the Volunteers Women’s National Championship.
This is why you can see the outpour of love, by the city, for their hockey team. Nashville has turned their town into a major hockey town. The Predators finished 13th in the East in 2012-2013 and are now four wins away from being Stanley Cup Champions. If they are able to pull off the title win, the town will go crazy. Watch as the team arrives back into “Smashville” (the name they gave themselves).
The Nashville Predators will attend their first Stanley Cup Final on Monday, May 29th. The team will be ready for either the Pittsburgh Penguins or the Ottawa Senators. They will try to continue their miraculous run through the playoffs with their city standing behind them, cheering them on the entire way.