Goalie nods: Elliott goes for Blues, Lehner for Sens, Harding for Wild

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Some news and notes from the blue paint…

Elliott starts for St. Louis

The Blues will give Brian Elliott just his second start of the season on Friday as they take on the Panthers in Florida.

Elliott, who had been in a timeshare with Jaroslav Halak over the last two seasons, has been demoted to No. 2 this season as Halak (7-1-1) has carried the load. Elliott’s lone start this season came in a 4-3 shootout loss to Winnipeg on Oct. 15 — his only other action this season came three days prior, in relief of Halak during a 6-2 loss to San Jose.

Ottawa rolls with Lehner

Robin Lenher will make his second start of the season as well on Friday when Ottawa takes on the Islanders.

Lehner, 22, hasn’t played since a 3-1 loss to Edmonton on Oct. 19, in which he stopped 18 of 20 shots. The Swedish netminder has watched from the bench a lot this season as the Sens have gone almost exclusively with Craig Anderson, though that might change given the latter’s mediocre efforts as of late.

Anderson is in the midst of a three-game losing streak and gave up 11 goals in his two most recent losses to Chicago and San Jose. On the year, he has a 4-4-2 record with a 3.16 GAA and .911 save percentage.

FYI, Evgeni Nabokov will start for the Islanders tonight in Ottawa.

Harding back for Minnesota

Josh Harding will see his first action in over 10 days as the Wild take on Montreal at Xcel Energy Center tonight.

Harding, 29, has put forth a tremendous campaign this far, going 5-2-1 with a 1.00 GAA and .953 save percentage, challenging Niklas Backstrom for the Wild’s No. 1 gig.

Speaking of Backstrom, it’s interesting to see him being sat after a rough outing against Chicago on Monday. The ‘Hawks burned the veteran netminder for five goals on 28 shots.

(For the Canadiens, Carey Price will get the start.)

Elsewhere…

Jacob Markstrom goes for Florida against St. Louis. Do note that the last time these two played, the Blues laid a 7-0 whipping on the Panthers.

— As we reported earlier, Semyon Varlamov will start for the Avs tonight in Dallas. Kari Lehtonen goes for the Stars.

— It’s Jimmy Howard vs. Joey MacDonald tonight in Calgary for the Red Wings-Flames game. Worth noting that Howard’s backup, Jonas Gustavsson, is dealing with a sore neck and might not be able to go tomorrow night against Edmonton. If that’s the case, AHL Grand Rapids call-up Peter Mrazek will get the start.

— Braden Holtby vs. Steve Mason in Philly for Caps-Flyers.

— Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Marc-Andre Fleury in Pittsburgh for Jackets-Pens.

— Ben Bishop vs. Justin Peters in Carolina for Bolts-‘Canes.

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.

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