Goalie nods: Montoya goes for Jets, Fasth back in for Ducks

News and notes from around the crease…

Winnipeg starts Montoya

Al Montoya will spell the red-hot Ondrej Pavelec when the Jets host the Flames tonight in Winnipeg.

Montoya, 28, has been silent lately after a brief flurry of activity in early November. With Pavelec slumping, Montoya appeared in three straight games for the Jets from Nov. 2-6, which included a 26-save win over the Red Wings on the 4th.

Since then, though, it’s been Pavelec’s net. The Czech ‘tender has won four of his last five starts, which included a 5-0 shutout of Nashville and a 41-save epic against Detroit last Tuesday.

Montoya will be up against Reto Berra tonight. The Calgary netminder has been, how you say, not so good at the hockey recently.

Anaheim goes back to Fasth

The Ducks will give Viktor Fasth another kick at the can on Monday, giving him the start against the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

Fasth, who missed nearly a month with a lower-body injury, made his return to the lineup on Friday and allowed two goals on 23 shots in a shootout loss to Carolina. This will mark the first time all season Fasth has recorded consecutive starts.

The Swedish netminder will go up against Marc-Andre Fleury tonight. Fleury has been slumping lately and has lost four of his last five starts.

Elsewhere…

— As mentioned earlier on PHT, Cam Ward returns from a 10-game absence tonight for Carolina. He’ll take on Tuukka Rask, who is coming off a rough outing against Ottawa in which he allowed four goals on 31 shots.

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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