Dave Bolland backpedals/clarifies his Canucks jabs

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Dave Bolland made waves when he called the Sedin twins “sisters” among other insults, so it comes as no surprise that he changed course a bit. Everyone has a different sniff test, but his excuse actually seems semi-feasible to me. He more or less claimed that he was hamming it up on a radio show, according to a report from the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc.

“I’ve got the utmost respect for the Sedin twins and for Alain Vigneault and all the Vancouver Canucks,” Bolland said. “It was just a little bit of  tongue-in-cheek that we had at the little radio show with some of the fans. I’ve got the utmost respect for Vancouver and what they do and what they do on the ice and how they do it. Both of us have a great rivalry going during this season.”

OK, so there’s a solid chance he backpedaled (er, clarified) his statements because a Blackhawks PR guy got to him, but I can picture a scenario in which Bolland felt the urge to troll the Canucks. (Then again maybe he’s stealth trolling them again with an ode to Ricky Bobby’s “Will all due respect …”)

Let’s face it though, when the Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks trash-talk each other in the media, it doesn’t really change much in the grand scheme of things. Maybe it alters the material a bit (I picture a “Who are the sisters now?” taunt if the Canucks handle the Hawks on Jan. 31), but the two teams share about as much animosity as huge groups of wealthy athletes can. They can’t really dislike each other more after beating the tar out of each other in three straight playoff years, so this is really just fodder.

So in the end, it entertains us all, which I think everyone can agree is the most important thing.

No mic? No problem: Oilers fans sing American, Canadian national anthems

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There was apparently an issue with a microphone used for the national anthems prior to Game 3 between the Ducks and Oilers in Edmonton.

Canadian country music star Brett Kissel was supposed to perform the anthems, however, as he stepped up to the mic, he soon discovered that there seemed to be a malfunction.

With some quick encouragement from Kissel, fans at Rogers Place stole the show with stirring renditions of both the American and Canadian national anthems.

Here is the Star Spangled Banner:

Here is O Canada:

Sami Vatanen returns to Ducks lineup vs. Oilers

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Good news for the Anaheim Ducks, who trail the Edmonton Oilers 2-0 in their second round series.

Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen returns to the lineup Sunday for Game 3 — his first game since April 13, which was the opener of Anaheim’s first-round series with Calgary, because of an upper-body injury.

However, the Ducks will be without Kevin Bieksa, who is dealing with a lower-body injury.

Predators stifle Blues to take back series lead

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The Nashville Predators have snapped their one-game funk in these Stanley Cup playoffs, taking back the series lead over the St. Louis Blues.

For long stretches of Sunday’s contest, the Predators kept the puck away from and stifled the Blues, including a stretch of almost nine minutes at the beginning of the second period in which St. Louis failed to register a shot attempt.

The Predators’ 3-1 victory in Game 3 was eventually secured on an unbelievably dominant shift late in the third period.

Joel Edmundson‘s (costly) turnover led to a dizzying attack from Predators, who had sustained puck possession inside the St. Louis zone for about 1:10.

By the end, Edmundson and Colton Parayko had exhausted themselves as the Predators tossed the puck around with increasing ease before Roman Josi halted the madness with a slap shot to the top corner, giving Nashville a two-goal lead.

That continues an impressive trend for the Predators.

They have scored nine goals in this series, with at least one defenseman contributing directly with either a goal or an assist on eight of those goals. Nashville’s group of blueliners — including Ryan Ellis, who has been on quite a productive roll throughout these playoffs — have combined for 11 points through three games in this series.

This series resumes Tuesday in Nashville, with the Predators leading 2-1.

VIDEO: Ryan Ellis continues his incredible postseason run for Predators

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Playing in Nashville over the years it has been easy for Ryan Ellis to get overlooked, always playing in the shadow of bigger name stars on the team’s blue line.

Shea Weber (before he was traded). Roman Josi. P.K. Subban.

But Ellis has been a major part of the Predators’ blue line and he had a career-year in 2016-17, setting new personal bests in goals (16) and points (38) while matching his previous career high in assists (22).

He has continued that strong play in the postseason and is currently the team’s leading scorer after he netted his third goal of the playoffs (and eighth total point) on Sunday afternoon to give the Predators a 1-0 lead over the St. Louis Blues.

You can see it in the video above.

After being held without a point in the Predators’ first playoff game, Ellis has now picked up at least one point in every playoff game since them and is now riding a six-game point streak.

The first half of Sunday’s game has been a defensive clinic by the Predators, by the way, limiting St. Louis to just 10 shots on goal through the first 34 minutes, and none through the first 14 minutes of the second period.

The Predators extended their lead to 2-0 in the second period when Cody McLeod deflected in his first goal of the playoffs to give the Predators some unexpected scoring depth. He had just five goals in 59 games during the regular season between the Predators and Colorado Avalanche.