Ducks top goal-scorer Rickard Rakell misses Gm 5 with injury

As many have already noted, the quality of hockey between the Nashville Predators and Anaheim Ducks as they exchange proverbial haymakers in their Western Conference Final has been top class.

The Predators returned home with a 3-2 Western Conference finals lead after a 3-1 victory over the Ducks in Anaheim on Saturday led by Rinne, who is 7-3 in the Honda Center in the postseason.

That's all the Predators need to punch their first-ever ticket to the Stanley Cup Final. Anaheim needs to be more physical with the Nashville defense and reduce the amount of time they have.

In between all the hits, the slashes and the post-whistle scrums, the teams found time to score a couple of goals. John Gibson has given up 38 goals on 466 shots faced and Jonathan Bernier has allowed six goals on 63 shots.

Both teams were missing significant players due to injuries.

Frederick Gaudreau made his Stanley Cup playoff debut in their absence, centering a line with Colin Wilson and Austin Watson early on.

The 23-year-old Swede has only one goal in his 15 games of regular-season National Hockey League experience, but Nashville's injuries thrust him into a key role alongside Forsberg on its top line.

Pekka Rinne made 32 saves in the Finnish goalie's latest dominant playoff performance in Anaheim, where the Predators have won five of their last seven playoff games over two seasons.

Carlyle also said that winger Patrick Eaves also did not travel. "But it needs to be other guys that step up". "Whether that's traffic in front, or stopping right in front of him when he makes a save, we try and play hard, but we try and play fair, too".

"Peter is such a great motivator", Fiddler said. The 20-year-old Swiss forward got in 54 games and used his speed and tenacity to play a critical role.

Anaheim players suffered some injuries.

Wagner said that despite the injuries to Rakell and Gibson, his team did not give the necessary effort to gain control of the series.

"Right when we walked off, yeah, you could hear people", said Predators defenceman Roman Josi. Nashville also needs to trust the system, trusting the system leads to third periods like the one we saw Saturday, it leads to wins.

The Ducks have been resilient all postseason, from scoring three goals to tie Edmonton in Game 5 of the second round before winning in overtime to snapping Nashville's 10-game winning streak on home ice. Brandon Montour penetrated into the deep slot for a wrist shot that Rinne could not control.

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. There was hope that Eaves might be on the radar in terms of potential availability when the coach said after Game 5 that he has moved to day-to-day status but that has dimmed. Nicolas Kerdiles replaced him in the line-up.

  • Julie Sanders