Make it 11 straight wins at home for Penguins

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The Pittsburgh Penguins won on home ice again, making it 11 straight victories for them at the Consol Energy Center.

The Penguins jumped out to a 4-0 lead – one of those goals was a beauty backhander off the stick of star Sidney Crosby – over the visiting New York Rangers and then cruised to a 5-2 victory to continue their run of domination on home ice and in the Metropolitan Division.

The Penguins have reached 30 wins and are a whopping 15 points up on the second-place Washington Capitals in that division. Oh, but the Capitals have two games in hand. So, there’s that.

“We obviously got a big start there. That set the tone for the rest of the game,” Crosby told NHL.com.

“[Marc-Andre Fleury] was good. There were a lot of shots, but he found a way to keep the puck out of the net for the most part and we capitalized on the chances we got.”

And Chris Kunitz continued his run of strong play, which could land him on the Canada’s Olympic team roster, which will be announced on Jan. 7.

Kunitz, who has developed impeccable chemistry with Crosby, a lock for Canada’s team in Sochi, scored twice and added an assist. He has 23 goals on the season.

He helped set up Crosby on his goal, and Crosby set up Kunitz twice. It’s a small sample size, but furthers the point of why Hockey Canada’s Olympic management team might consider bringing Kunitz to Russia in February to play alongside Crosby.

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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