TGIF: Five NHL games to watch this weekend

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Saturday: Detroit at Boston (7 p.m. ET)

The Red Wings get their first look at the B’s as Eastern Conference foes. Though we wonder if fatigue may be a factor for Mike Babcock’s troops — Detroit played Wednesday at home and is in Carolina to take on the Hurricanes Friday night before traveling to Boston. Wasn’t the schedule supposed to be easier in the new conference? As for the Bruins, they should be feeling pretty good after Thursday’s 3-1 win over Tampa Bay to open their season.

Saturday: Buffalo at Pittsburgh (7 p.m. ET)

Despite no shortage of power-play opportunities, the Sabres could only muster 20 shots versus Detroit in a 2-1 loss on Wednesday. Like the Wings, Buffalo plays Friday (at home versus Ottawa) before traveling for a tough game Saturday. Meanwhile, the Pens couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season, beating New Jersey 3-0 Thursday as much-maligned Marc-Andre Fleury got the shutout. By the way, Pittsburgh plays seven of its first 10 games at home and doesn’t travel outside its time zone until Nov. 9 (St. Louis).

Saturday: Philadelphia at Montreal (7 p.m. ET)

Danny Briere faces off against his old Flyers mates. That’s one angle. Another involves the chatter that Philadelphia head coach Peter Laviolette is very much on the hot seat. Last night on TSN’s Insider Trading (video), Darren Dreger cited a sense of “impending doom” around the organization and suggested the Flyers need to have a winning record by the 10-15 game mark of the season, or we may see a new man — potentially Craig Berube — in charge behind the bench.

Saturday: Edmonton at Vancouver (10 p.m. ET)

Both teams opened their seasons with losses. Whoever loses this one (on national TV in Canada, no less) is going to hear about it. The Oilers really should’ve won their first game, but they blew a 4-2 lead to the Jets on Tuesday. As for the Canucks, they looked good for the first 10 minutes of last night’s contest in San Jose, but turnovers ultimately cost them in a 4-1 loss to a Sharks side that should be very good this season. “We have a lot to learn with tenacity and consistently being on pucks,” said new Vancouver coach John Tortorella after the game.

Sunday: Anaheim at Winnipeg (8 p.m. ET)

Teemu Selanne returns to the city in which he first starred, almost certainly for the last time as an NHLer. We suppose there’s a chance the two teams meet in the playoffs, or even that Selanne changes his mind and doesn’t retire, but there’s a reason ticket prices are through the roof for this one. The Ducks don’t go back to Winnipeg again this season.

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.

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