Predators vs Jets Game 7 Tonight
The Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets will vie for the lone remaining berth in the Conference Finals of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs when they contest Game 7 of their Second Round series Thursday in Nashville, 8 p.m., ET.
The winner of Thursday’s showdown will advance to the Western Conference Final and face the Pacific Division’s regular-season and playoff champion Vegas Golden Knights.
For the 10th consecutive year, the Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs will conclude with a Game 7. The eventual Stanley Cup champion has won at least one Game 7 in each of the past five years.
The Predators will play host to a seventh and deciding game at Bridgestone Arena for the first time, with each of their other two such contests coming on the road in 2016. They defeated Anaheim 2-1 in the First Round and lost 5-0 at San Jose in the Second Round.
The Jets are set to play in their first Game 7 in franchise history, becoming the 29th active NHL franchise to do so (and first to make their debut since Nashville in 2016). Fourteen clubs have won their first such appearance, including 10 road victories.
The original Jets franchise played in two Game 7s, dropping a 4-1 decision at Edmonton in the 1990 Smythe Division Semifinals and losing 5-0 at Vancouver in the same round in 1992.
Head coaches Peter Laviolette of the Predators and Paul Maurice of the Jets boast a combined .778 winning percentage in Game 7s (Laviolette 5-2, Maurice 2-0). Laviolette is one of four NHL coaches who has won a Game 7 in each of the four different playoff rounds, along with Pat Burns, Mike Keenan and John Tortorella.
Game 6 Highlights
Tale of the Tape
Reg. Season Points/NHL Rank 117/1st 114/2nd
Goals (this series) 18 22
Shots on Goal (this series) 217 213
Even-Strength Shot Attempts (this series) 338 338
Blocked Shots (this series) 97 97
Hits (this series) 144 141
Save Percentage (this series) .910 .921
Face-Off Win Pct. (this series) 52.0% 48.0%
Pct. of Time Leading (this series) 40.0% 31.4%
Pct. of Time Leading (at Nashville) 15.6% 52.5%
GAME 7 COMPARISONS: EXPERIENCE
Nashville’s roster is comprised of 20 players combining for 47 career Game 7s, compared to Winnipeg’s eight players with 13 such appearances.
Predators forward Nick Bonino, signed by the team on July 1, leads all players on either side with five Game 7s. He has one assist (2014 SR w/ ANA) and a 3-2 record in those contests, with all three wins coming over the past two years on runs to back-to-back Stanley Cup championships with the Penguins.
Veteran forwards Scott Hartnell (3-1) and Mike Fisher (1-3) and defenseman P.K. Subban (3-1) each have four Game 7 appearances to their credit. Hartnell and Subban have 1-1—2 apiece in winner-takes-all playoff games.
Jets forwards Paul Stastny (2-1), Matt Hendricks (1-2) and Mathieu Perreault (0-2) each have multiple Game 7 appearances. Stastny, acquired from the Blues at the 2018 Trade Deadline, leads all players on either side with 2-3—5 in those games.
Jets skaters have combined for nearly as many points in Game 7s as Predators skaters, despite having played in significantly fewer contests (NSH: 4-5—9 in 45 GP; WPG: 4-4—8 in 12 GP).
GAME 7 COMPARISONS: GOALTENDING
A series that features two 2017-18 Vezina Trophy finalists – Pekka Rinne of Nashville and Connor Hellebuyck of Winnipeg – has seen an average of 6.7 goals per game, with 40 goals scored through six contests. However, both netminders have a history of strong play in decisive games.
Rinne, who has twice rebounded with stellar performances following defeats in this series, owns an all-time record of 7-8 in 15 potential series-clinching games (including a 1-1 mark in Game 7s). He has earned five series-clinching victories on home ice (9 GP), posting a 1.91 goals-against average and .932 save percentage in those contests.
Hellebuyck, who is playing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time, is expected to start in his third career potential series-clinching game (Game 6 vs. NSH and Game 5 vs. MIN). The 24-year-old netminder has lost consecutive appearances only once since February (March 10 & 12), rebounding from his three playoff defeats with a 3-0 record, 2.00 goals-against average and .940 save percentage.
Game 7 Trends
Of the 170 all-time Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs:
- The team that scores first is 126-44 (.741), including 0-1 in 2018.
- Home teams own a 100-70 (.588) advantage, including a 1-0 record in 2018.
- Forty-one have required overtime (24.2%). Home teams have a 21-20 edge