Quit pinching yourselves Predators fans.
It’s true. You saw it, but perhaps went into shock when your team traveled to Chicago and posted back-to-back shutouts on the No. 1 seed Blackhawks.
After a stellar performance in Game 1 from goalie Pekka Rinne, the Predators came back Saturday night to prove Game 1 was no fluke.
They buried the Blackhawks, 5-0, in Game 2. It was a total team effort. You had scoring from the third and fourth lines. You saw the Predators defense hold Chicago star Patrick Kane and the rest of a team that ranked No. 9 in scoring in the NHL.
Take a deep breath. Exhale. They are up 2-0 in games. The early results have the NHL experts stunned.
This Predators team pulled it off in large part by attacking Chicago early and often. They never took their skates off the gas pedal.
They poured it on, changing the Blackhawks into the Black and Blue Hawks.
You’ve heard of passive-aggressive. The Predators were aggressive. Chicago was passive.
The Blackhawks played like they had a pregame meal of all you can eat pizza at Geno’s.
But don’t count your blessings now.
Playoff hockey is a marathon, not a sprint.
The best-of-seven games is the best format to determine the stronger team.
But for two games, the Predators franchise hasn’t put two more back-to-back dominant playoff games against a franchise that has won four Stanley Cups in the last eight years.
For two games they took the wind out of the Windy City.
I mean, check this out. Harry Zolnierczyk. Colton Sissons, Kevin Fiala. Ryan Johansen. They are not exactly household names in Smashville. But they are the players that scored four of the five goals Friday night. It marked the first career playoff goal for the foursome. That’s distributing. That’s teamwork. That’s dominance.
Two wins down, two to go.
You don’t think Smashville will be berserk Monday night for Game 3 do you?
For two games, Predators players have played with their hair on fire.
Sorry to say, they need to put the results out of their mind. Let Pred Nation celebrate, but the team needs to keep its eye on the prize. They can’t afford to believe all they read, all they hear on sports talk shows, all they see on local and national television, all the pats on the backs.
It is a former expansion franchise that has yet to move past the first two playoff series.
So soak it up for 24 hours Predators. Remember what you did, how you did it and continue playing like you have and you will receive all the accolades you can count.
The Blackhawks are down, but certainly not out.
Joe Biddle is a WKRN.com sports columnist. He is also a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.