By John Glennon
Ever since losing the first two games of this playoff series, the Predators have been fighting an improbable – closer to impossible – uphill battle.
The odds had been stacked against them in the first place, after all, a fourth seed that barely snuck into the playoffs taking on the Central Division winner that finished with the NHL’s third-best record.
But beating the Hurricanes in four of the next five contests? Surely it was too tall a task, especially considering the Preds had never – in 11 tries over the decades – even won a playoff series after losing the first game.
Yet here the Predators were on Tuesday night in Game 5, not on the verge of capturing the series, but just over seven minutes away from taking a huge step in that direction. The visiting Preds led the Hurricanes 2-1 at that point, oh-so-close to grabbing a 3-2 series lead against a team that had pummeled Nashville in four regular-season meetings in Raleigh -- outscoring the Predators 15-5.
So how did it happen that dejected Preds captain Roman Josi was instead left trying to explain away a soul-snatching defeat, a 3-2 loss that was decided just 2:03 into overtime – mere child’s play for these two marathon-loving . . .
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