Minnesota coach “surprised and disappointed” over non-suspension ruling

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Mike Yeo is none too pleased with NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan.

A day after learning Colorado’s Cody McLeod wouldn’t be suspended for his hit on Minnesota’s Jared Spurgeon, the first-year Wild head coach expressed dismay with the decision.

“Surprised and disappointed,” Yeo told the Pioneer Press. “I thought it was a dangerous and dirty hit.”

Realizing the gigantic turd he was about to step in, Yeo quickly checked himself (lest he wreck himself.)

“Here I am, sitting here talking about it,” he said, “and the next time we play Colorado, it’s going to look like we’re going out and targeting if one of our guys goes and hits one of their skill guys. It’s going to look like it’s premeditated, and so I’d just as soon leave it alone.”

It’s not surprising Yeo briefly lost his cool. On December 15, the Wild were the first place team in the NHL.

Today, they’re sixth in the Western Conference.

They also just lost Spurgeon — third on the team in average TOI per game — to a lower-body injury, which Yeo must find equally frustrating. Minnesota was already without Devin Setoguchi, Guillaume Latendresse, Casey Wellman and Clayton Stoner and only just got captain Mikko Koivu back from a leg injury.

The rash of injuries has sapped Yeo’s team of much of its offense — the Wild have scored just nine goals during the seven-game losing streak and haven’t scored more than two in a single game since Dec. 10.

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.