The Canucks have persevered all season dealing with injuries. They’ve lost more than 300 man-games thanks to injuries to numerous defensemen and a handful of forwards. Last night, Manny Malhotra was struck in the face by a shot and had to be tended to immediately. Malhotra is a key member of the team’s third line and one of their better checking forwards.
Today, the Canucks updated his status saying that he had to undergo eye surgery and he’ll be out of the lineup indefinitely. Coach Alain Vigneault said they’ll know better what sort of timetable they can set for him after a couple of days, but for now Vancouver will again have to fill a hole in the lineup from within. They will miss Malhotra’s presence mightily.
Of course, an injury like this leads us to the debate over visors. Many players hate them, but anyone coming up through junior hockey and the AHL now makes it to the NHL wearing one for their entire career up to that point. A day will come when visors become mandatory for the sake of the players (much like it did for helmets in 1979) but for players in the NHL now, they seem to take to visors only after suffering a scare personally. Such is life, but you can see this eventually coming one day.
Vancouver called up Victor Oreskovich from Manitoba in the AHL to fill his spot on the roster. As for how Vancouver’s done this season in spite of injuries, you have to give Vigneault a ton of credit for keeping the team calm, cool, and cranking out wins consistently.
While the Northwest Division hasn’t exactly been great this year, getting the Canucks to both be the first team to clinch a playoff spot this year and win the division is great accomplishment in spite of all the injury problems. Vancouver’s 103 points is best in the NHL by ten over Philadelphia giving the Canucks the clear shot at the Presidents Trophy. If this translates into a Stanley Cup for the Canucks, expect them to erect statues for Vigneault in Vancouver overnight.
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:
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.)
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?
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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