Habs' OT loss sets up big game for Flyers & Rangers

Habs1.jpgIt’s not the way the Montreal Canadiens drew it up, but the Habs are
headed to the playoffs after earning a point in tonight’s overtime loss
to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Canadiens have won just three times in
their past ten games, but were able back into the playoffs thanks to
earning nine of a possible 20 points during that span.

Montreal
earning a playoff spot sets up an incredibly big game tomorrow night in
Philadelphia. With just one spot up for grabs, it now becomes a
do-or-die game for both the Rangers and Flyers. One point means nothing
— the only way to make the playoffs now is to win.

There’s also a
matter of seeding. The Boston Bruins are now locked into the 6th seed,
but the Canadiens could slide down to the 8th spot depending on who wins
tomorrow.

A Flyers win and the Habs face the Washington Capitals
in the first round.

A Rangers win and we see a rematch of last
year’s quarterfinals matchup, when the Rangers took the Capitals to
seven games.

I imagine the Canadiens are about to become some
pretty big Rangers fans tomorrow. That being said, if the standings stay
as they are now they’d be facing the New Jersey Devils in the first
round; that won’t exactly be a cakewalk either.

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    Video: Trisha Yearwood sings national anthem for Preds-Ducks

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    Keith Urban sang the national anthem for Game 3. Kelly Clarkson did the honors for the Nashville Predators before Game 4. Next up: Trisha Yearwood for Game 6.

    The Predators hope to close out the Anaheim Ducks on Monday, and they got off to a nice start with Austin Watson scoring a quick 1-0 goal. Not long after, the Predators added another to build to a 2-0 lead.

    Garth Brooks spoiled Yearwood’s appearance a bit before the contest.

    Brooks also revealed Yearwood’s early fan creds:

    Nick Ritchie ejected after boarding, bloodying Viktor Arvidsson (Video)

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    Anaheim Ducks forward Nick Ritchie scored a goal in Game 4, but he won’t be able to provide such a scoring boost for his team in Game 6.

    That’s because he was ejected during the first period after hitting rising Nashville Predators star Viktor Arvidsson from behind, bloodying the slick Swede.

    Ritchie was whistled for a game misconduct and major. Remarkably, the Ducks killed the entire five-minute power-play opportunity, with Ryan Kesler‘s shorthanded chance being one of the better opportunities for either team.

    It’s still a big blunder, but if the Ducks can get back in it, remember that big kill.

    Video of the hit is coming soon. For now, check out the GIF:

    Oddly, Arvidsson left the ice with a wound that more or less spelled out “R,” presumably for Ritchie, maybe celebrating the return of “Twin Peaks.”

    (Such an obvious move might not be surreal enough for David Lynch, though. Alex Prewitt’s Zorro reference might be more, um, on the mark.)

    Video: Predators storm off to 2-0 lead, beguile Bernier early on

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    It was already loud at Bridgestone Arena, but the Nashville Predators are making it a madhouse with a strong start against the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6.

    First, it was Austin Watson, who sent a puck off a Ducks skate to score a 1-0 goal on Nashville’s first shot on Jonathan Bernier, who is starting instead of John Gibson. That came about 90 seconds into the game, really revving up the crowd.

    Colton Sissons scored his first goal of the Western Conference Final – on his first shot on goal of the series – to make it 2-0. At that point, Bernier had allowed two goals on three shots on goal. Bernier’s made a few stops since then, but it’s a shaky start for a Ducks team facing elimination.

    There’s some solace in that Anaheim’s often at its best in dire situations, though you have to wonder how many times they can bounce back from this?

    No Mike Fisher or Craig Smith for Predators in Game 6

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    The Anaheim Ducks won’t have John Gibson back, but the Nashville Predators are dealing with some injury-related letdowns, too.

    Craig Smith skated before Game 6, but he opted not to play on Monday. Mike Fisher is also unable to go for the Predators as they aim to eliminate Anaheim.

    The Ducks also won’t have Rickard Rakell back in the mix, so this physical Western Conference Final continues to feel like a battle of attrition.

    Click here for the official roster report.

    Game 5 is airing on NBCSN right now. You can watch online and via the NBC Sports App.

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE.