Rangers' Marc Staal is hoping for another team to extend an offer sheet

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Thumbnail image for marcstaalrfa.jpgIf you’ve been wondering what the news is with New York Rangers restricted free agent defenseman Marc Staal, you’re not alone. Discussions have been quiet to the point of worry for many Rangers fans and it appears that Staal is now getting a bit unnerved with the lack of negotiations coming from GM Glen Sather. Staal is so frustrated with things that, according to Arthur Staple of New York Newsday, he’s hoping that another team will step in and sign him to an offer sheet.

While we’ve seen how the offer sheet can be used already this summer with Niklas Hjalmarsson being signed to one by the Sharks only to have the Blackhawks match it, the Rangers could be put in a similar situation by a team looking to acquire him. Thanks to CapGeek, we see that the Rangers are nearly $2 million over the salary cap and while rumors abound that defenseman Wade Redden will be sent packing to the AHL to free up room against the cap, Staal is still going to demand big bucks. He’s going to be 24 years-old in January and he’s going into his fourth NHL season as perhaps the best defenseman on the Rangers and one of the better ones in the NHL.

The Rangers say they’ll match any offer, but the longer the Rangers put off signing Staal, the more they’re letting another team potentially control their destiny as far as what they might have to do with their roster. If that’s a position Glen Sather is comfortable with, then kudos to him for being prepared for it. If another team itchy to add a great, young defenseman and has money to burn steps up though, you have to wonder just how prepared the Rangers are for that. After all, if I was Glen Sather, I’d be nervous knowing that Charles Wang is right down the road.

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.