Predators left surprised, determined by Johansen's injury

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Pontus Aberg scored his first career playoff goal with 8:59 to play, and the Nashville Predators moved to the brink of their first Stanley Cup Final with a 3-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals Saturday night.

On Saturday afternoon, the National Hockey League announced that Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf would be fined $10,000, "for directing an inappropriate remark toward another on-ice participant" during Thursday's Game 4 against the Nashville Predators.

Aberg scored on a rebound of Filip Forsberg's shot for the Predators, who took a 3-2 series lead, despite the absence of injured top scorer Ryan Johansen and captain Mike Fisher.

The Predators will have an opportunity to clinch their first Stanley Cup finals berth in franchise history. "With regard to our players' heads, they've been in the right place, I think, through the entire playoffs and they remain in the right place", said Predators coach Peter Laviolette prior to Game 5. Afterward, doctors determined Johansen needed emergency surgery.

Defenseman Mattias Ekholm says he had no idea Johansen was playing hurt during Game 4, saying the injury appeared to be caused by a check that "apparently wasn't that big of a deal".

"I thought we had energy coming out, and it deteriorated throughout the game", captain Ryan Getzlaf said.

Johansen had one goal and three assists in four games against the Ducks, who deployed their shutdown defensive line centered by Ryan Kesler against Nashville's top line.

Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne, right, makes a save with his glove off a shot by Anaheim Ducks center Andrew Cogliano, left, during the third period of Game 5 in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference finals in.

Johansen led the Predators with 13 points in 14 playoff games while centering their unsafe top line alongside Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson. We've got a job to do tonight.

"Getzlaf's comment in Thursday's game, particularly as directed to another individual on the ice, was inappropriately demeaning and disrespectful, and crossed the line into behavior that we deem unacceptable", said Colin Campbell, the NHL's senior executive vice president of hockey operations.

Nashville had tied the score at 1 on Wilson's power-play goal, his second goal of the playoffs, at 19:19 of the second period. "He had a really good go here in the playoffs, especially, and we're definitely going to miss him". In the first two series we use a lot of guys up front.

Fisher missed his first game of his scoreless postseason with an undisclosed injury after taking a hit to the head in Game 4. He shared the club scoring lead with Arvidsson in the regular season, posting 61 points.

  • Julie Sanders