Giroux leaves Germany, returns to North America after neck injury

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What began as a “little neck injury” has turned into cause for concern.

That’s the word out of Philadelphia on Tuesday, as star Flyers forward Claude Giroux prepared to leave German club Eisbaeren Berlin and return to North America to have his neck injury examined.

News of Giroux’s departure was first reported by Oliver Koch of Hockeyweb.de, later confirmed via a tweet from the Eisbaren organization.

Giroux suffered the injury during a league game last Friday after being checked in the head by a Krefeld Pinguine player, but initially brushed it off as a minor issue.

“Just a little neck injury,” Giroux told the Philadelphia Daily News. “[Don’t] read too much into it.”

Now, it appears the ailment was more serious than first thought.

According to a rough translation of Koch’s report, Giroux will head to Atlanta to see a “specialist” for further testing. The report also claims Giroux underwent standard head- and neck-injury tests in Berlin following Friday’s game, but was complaining of “feeling unwell” — thus, the move to Atlanta.

It’s worth noting that concussion specialist Ted Carrick, who famously worked with Sidney Crosby, has a clinic at Life University in Atlanta.

News of Giroux’s injury has to be concerning for the Flyers organization. He’s been sidelined by concussions twice in his career — he missed five games during the 2008-09 season and another four during the 2010-11 campaign.

Update: Sounds like Giroux is in Atlanta to see Carrick, according to Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News

Update 2: This time, from ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun…

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.