Nashville Predators Advance To Stanley Cup Finals

Country music fans rejoiced on Monday night as ‘Smashville’ beat the Ducks 6-3 to take the series 4-2. After the game Head Coach Peter Laviolette, Colton Sissons and Pekka Rinne spoke wit the media about the accomplishment:

Q. Peter, considering the tremendous accomplishment your team just achieved, how much do you want them to cherish this and how long will you allow them to celebrate it before putting your mind to where it ultimately needs to go?

COACH LAVIOLETTE: Well, at least a couple of minutes. Our guys fought incredibly hard, I think, through the course of the year to try and get better, to get ourselves in a position to make the Playoffs and then certainly fought hard in the Playoffs. You know, tonight is — I know you can’t move forward unless you win the Western Conference, and there’s something to be set for that. Our guys know the big picture. They understand what it is that we’re trying to do here. And when that time comes, we’ll be ready. But tonight they’re going to enjoy the fact that they just won a game and they’re moving on. Similar to the way they did in the first round and the second round. But when it comes time to go back to work, I have no doubt that they’ll be ready to go back to work.

Q. How badly was a play needed there when Sissons scored the winning goal? And when you put that line together, was that an easy decision? What went into moving Sissons and Aberg up there with Fil there?

COACH LAVIOLETTE: For me, when Fish and Joey came out of the lineup, we knew that we had a really big player, big man in Getzlaf on the other side. And you gotta give their team a ton of credit for the way they played the game tonight and the series for them to get to this point. They’re a terrific, terrific team. And when we made that move, we wanted somebody that he with thought physically could at least play against him, because it’s more than just being a good player. He’s a mountain of a man out there. And Colton was the guy that we thought could handle that responsibility just from a size matchup. And Colton’s answered all the challenges that we’ve asked of him lately. And tonight, I think, was just — his game tonight went to another level. The goals are one thing, but the way he competed, the way he defended, the penalties he killed, the faceoff battles he got into. The hits that he took, the hits that he gave, he was — that’s the best I’ve seen him.

Q. This is a question for both of you. We saw the celebration on the ice around the trophy. What was the celebration like, the scene like in the locker room once you entered the locker room?

COLTON SISSONS: Felt pretty good, man. A lot of energy. A lot of energy. We worked so hard all year for this. So it feels good to get this far but still some work to do.

PEKKA RINNE: Yeah, for sure. It’s almost like a thing you don’t want to think about too much. You have been holding it back, and in the back of your head you’ve been thinking about the finals and then when the buzzer goes off, it’s an amazing feeling.

Q. Pekka, there was a stretch there where you were pretty much single-handedly keeping your team in it. How much pressure were you feeling at that point to keep your team in that game?

PEKKA RINNE: They were coming hard. We were fighting it for a bit. But can’t take away anything. I mean, it was a gutsy effort. And we blocked a ton of shots. We had to play defense. We did that well. And we didn’t — I mean, they had some good looks, but we didn’t give them odd-man rushes. We didn’t give them break-aways. We didn’t give them a lot of areas from the prime time — you know, areas — and kept them mostly outside. But obviously that was a big one. Anytime you need to close a series out, you know that, as a goalie, you’ve got to be good. And as a team you’ve got to be good. And we let them back in the game in the third. That was disappointing at the time. But thank God we have Sissy