That was fast: Avs match Calgary’s offer sheet for O’Reilly

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Just a few hours after Calgary announced it had signed Ryan O’Reilly to an offer sheet, the Colorado Avalanche announced they matched it.

In a brief statement posted to the team website, the Avs confirmed they’ve agreed to match a two-year deal with an average annual value of $5 million. O’Reilly, 22, will have a salary of $1 million for this season, plus a $2.5 million signing bonus.

Next season, he will be paid $6.5 million.

Had the Avalanche not matched, they would’ve received Calgary’s first- and third-round picks in the 2013 NHL draft as compensation.

But the Avs did match, a development that should provide some interesting moments.

The potential for awkwardness is off the charts considering how soured the relationship between O’Reilly and the organization has become — last week, O’Reilly’s father wrote a scathing email to the Denver Post, blasting the organization and how it handled contract negotiations. Earlier, defenseman Shane O’Brien said the situation had “gotten ugly.”

That said, it didn’t take long for Colorado to decide O’Reilly was worth $10 million dollars.

The Denver Post’s Adrian Dater reports the Avs decided to match Calgary’s offer sheet after “about two hours” after consultation with ownership. It also ensures that Colorado will retain O’Reilly for at least a calendar year, as teams aren’t eligible to trade players for a full season after matching an offer sheet.

So, looking ahead, Colorado can’t trade O’Reilly until Feb. 28, 2014 — a curious date, given the 2012 NHL trade deadline was Feb. 27 and the year before, it was Feb. 28.

Of course, the 2014 trade deadline could be bumped if NHLers participate in the Winter Olympics in Sochi (in 2010, the deadline was on Mar. 3.)

Another aspect to consider is what Colorado will be faced with by the contract’s end. In 2014, O’Reilly will still be a RFA and coming off a year in which he earned $6.5 million, meaning any qualifying offer must be at least that much.

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

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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.