Predators' win puts them on verge of history

Nashville Predators players celebrate a goal by Austin Watson against the Anaheim Ducks during the third period of Game 5 in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference finals in Anaheim, Calif., Saturday, May 20, 2017.

That is sort of the scenario the Anaheim Ducks face as they arrived in Nashville for Game 6 of the Western Conference final. The Predators have won five playoff series and lead the Ducks in the conference finals 3-2, while the Ducks have won 12 series in as many seasons - and a Stanley Cup in 2007. "I thought that's what we did".

For the first time in Nashville Predators history, a major National Hockey League trophy will be in Bridgestone Arena.

The second period was tighter, but an unfortunate play combined with the lack of footspeed by the fourth line and a very fluky bounce lead to the Ducks taking a 1-0 lead off a rebound.

"At this point, we can't make an excuse", Wagner said. But we're a group that has gotten really close this year, I think much closer than the previous years in terms of how we've competed and how bad we want to win.

NOTES: Nashville scratched C Ryan Johansen, C Mike Fisher, D Anthony Bittetto, RW P.A. Parenteau, C Craig Smith, D Brad Hunt, LW Harry Zolnierczyk, G Marek Mazanec and LW Vladislav Kamenev.

Things reached a critical peak when Ducks goalie John Gibson was stripped of the puck behind the net in the first period and fell awkwardly when rushing back to his net.

"We obviously know what's at stake", forward Colin Wilson said Sunday. Gibson vowed to be back in the lineup Monday but coach Randy Carlyle was not as optimistic, telling reporters: "We'll do an assessment tomorrow and we'll do an assessment once we get to Nashville on Monday morning and see where that takes us".

"This year, the travel's been a lot better for us". Game one makes sense as it had to be hard to summon up the emotion less than 48 hours after beating Edmonton in game seven, getting King Kong off their backs, however... games 3 and five have something in common.

The Predators will not only have the chance to clinch their first-ever berth in the Stanley Cup Finals tomorrow.

In Game 5, because of Johansen's injury, Forsberg was split up from winger Viktor Arvidsson, the other remaining JoFA Line forward. Fisher left Game 4 in the third period with an undisclosed injury.

The Ducks also were hurting without Rakell, a surprise omission due to a lower-body injury, and Eaves, who missed his ninth straight game.

Viktor Arvidsson was exactly that from the minute the regular season started, and he wound up tying for the team lead in goals, with 31 in the regular season.

The Ducks find themselves in a familiar situation ahead of Game 5 at Honda Center tonight. Nashville ended Anaheim's streak of seven consecutive Game 5 victories at home since 2011.

  • Salvatore Jensen