Around The Rink – October 11

Happy Columbus Day to all of you fortunate enough to have a bank holiday to sit around and watch afternoon hockey. There are three games dropping the puck before the sun sets today while you’re kicking back enjoying some lasagna to celebrate everyone’s favorite 15th Century Italian explorer. All times are eastern because that’s the way Columbus wanted it.

1:00 pm

NY Rangers @ NY Islanders

Nothing says “holiday” like the Rangers and Isles going at each other like cats and dogs on Long Island. It’s their first meeting of the season and, like all other times they meet, should be a slugfest. Look for Derek Boogaard and Zenon Konopka to get to know each other at some point. Henrik Lundqvist will start for the Rangers in goal while Dwayne Roloson will start for the Islanders. Update: So much for Roloson, DiPietro gets the nod.

2:00 pm

Anaheim @ St. Louis

So the Ducks won’t have newly-signed Andreas Lilja in the lineup just yet, but at least they’ll have defenseman to kick around soon. Until then, the leaky defense will have to deal with David Backes and company. Cam Janssen won’t be around to punch people as he’s out for two weeks with a concussion.

4:00 pm

Pittsburgh @ New Jersey

Paul Martin makes his return to New Jersey as a member of the Penguins and he’s expecting to be met with boos. As for the game, the Devils will hope to tighten things up a bit after losing 7-2 to Washington Friday night. That might be tricky to do as they’ll be playing perhaps as few as 18 players. They’ll be without Pierre-Luc Letorneau-Leblond who was suspended. Anton Volchenkov may also miss the game after taking a puck in the visor that broke his nose.

7:00 pm

Chicago @ Buffalo

Buffalo native Patrick Kane gets to show off in his hometown this time without the Stanley Cup or a fire truck crane to get stuck in. Chicago is looking for their first win of the season while the Sabres are hoping they can bounce back after a 6-3 drubbing at the hands of the Rangers on Saturday.

Colorado @ Philadelphia

With Michael Leighton out for up to eight weeks with back surgery, it’ll be the Sergei Bobrovsky/Brian Boucher show in Philly. Bobrovsky looked solid in a win over Pittsburgh while Boucher fared well in an overtime loss to St. Louis. Meanwhile Colorado is riding high after an OT win over Chicago on opening night.

Ottawa @ Washington

The fighting Capitals are hoping to build on the 7-2 win they had over New Jersey on Saturday night that saw the Capitals make like it was the 1980s and both score tons of goals and have everyone drop the gloves. Meanwhile, the Senators are looking for their first win of the season. Coming off a rough 5-1 loss to Toronto gives the Sens all the motive they need to play better.

10:00 pm

Florida @ Vancouver

These teams dealt with each other enough in the off-season and training camp making three different trades with each other. As it happens, Keith Ballard will be all that Vancouver will be bringing to the ice that Florida might recognize, while the Panthers will break out Steve Bernier and Darcy Hordichuk. Look for Hordichuk to find a fighting partner on Vancouver to deal with.

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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.

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