Top 15 moments of the 2010-11 Preds season: #1
- Updated: June 11, 2011
This is a multi-part series where we countdown our Top 15 moments of the Nashville Predators’ 2010-11 season.
#1 :: JERRED SMITHSON SCORES THE BIGGEST GOAL IN FRANCHISE HISTORY
The Nashville Predators Viewing Parties were packed. Brewhouse South, where our official one was being held, was bursting with anticipation. The Western Conference Quarterfinal series was tied 2-2 before Game 5 in Southern California. While the Preds got an early goal from Kevin Klein, the high-flying Anaheim Ducks answered with a goal in the second and then this masterpiece early in third.
Nashville fought back to tie the game at two but Anaheim’s Jason Blake found himself in front of Pekka Rinne all alone with less than 6:00 remaining. He made no mistake and put his team ahead 3-2 in the crucial Game 5. Things looked bleak for Nashville. Had they done it again? Had they battled back in a game just to see it go for not? Had they hung in a winnable series only to watch the other team celebrate? Had they failed once again to go for the jugular when given the chance? No it wasn’t a deciding game but you have to understand, this Predators team has been in numerous playoff series’ with hopes and expectations so high. In 2007, Peter Forsberg was coined “the missing piece” to a Stanley Cup puzzle. The San Jose Sharks thought otherwise and ousted the Preds in six. In 2010, Nashville had a choke hold in Game 5 of their series with the Chicago Blackhawks yet found a way to lose the game and the series in six. Were they really about to have another first round failure?
In the final minute the Ducks made a critical error, icing the puck with a one goal lead. The face-off would come back into the Anaheim zone and team captain Shea Weber gave the Predators life.
But that was only to tie the game. Just because Nashville got to overtime didn’t mean they would leave Southern California the victors.
At nearly the stroke of midnight Central Time, Jerred Smithson would not only score a game-winning goal, he would score the first playoff overtime goal in franchise history, he would give Nashville a 3-2 series lead for the first time in franchise history and he would exercise all of those demons from last year’s Chicago series. All with a single shot.
Until the Predators advance to the Western Conference Finals — or perhaps even the Stanley Cup Finals — Jerred Smithson’s overtime winner in Game 5 will be known as the biggest goal in Nashville Predators history. Period.