Leafs coach Ron Wilson made it crystal clear that both Jonas Gustavsson and Ben Scrivens are not the answer they’re looking for in a backup goalie in Toronto. With James Reimer still out dealing with a whiplash-like injury, it’s been on those two to stop pucks. In their last few games they’ve done anything but that.
So what now? With Reimer’s status still up in the air as to when he’s getting back, the backup issue is going to stay terrible and isn’t changing without a trade being worked out. Marty Turco is readily available as a free agent but he wouldn’t do anything to fix the problem. Brian Burke does have a couple of teams he could talk to about a deal though.
Florida has a glut of useful goaltending at the top with Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen with Clemmensen being the guy most likely to be moved. Clemmensen has just one year left on his deal and with Jacob Markstrom back in the AHL for the time being and with a future as their eventual top guy, Clemmensen is just the guy holding things down in the mean time. Dale Tallon and Brian Burke working on a trade has the potential to be explosively glorious.
If that doesn’t tickle their fancy there’s always the Islanders. The Isles are rolling with Rick DiPietro, Al Montoya, and Evgeni Nabokov in goal and Nabokov is the guy most readily available to move. Nabokov isn’t a permanent solution but would likely improve their backup situation dramatically and give Ron Wilson a guy he’s more than familiar with from his days in San Jose. Only question here is what it would take to get Garth Snow to move Nabokov. It won’t be cheap.
One way or another, Burke has a move to make here to keep the Leafs riding high all season. Backup goalie is a huge Achilles Heel for this team and they’ll need a fix sooner than later.
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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