Let’s take a look at how Sunday’s game changed the playoff picture, starting with the East because the West didn’t really see any significant impacts.
- The two top teams won games on Sunday. The Boston Bruins edged the Philadelphia Flyers in an exciting game that ended in a shootout while the Pittsburgh Penguins made life miserable for the Chicago Blackhawks.
- The New York Rangers tied a franchise record with their 24th road win by pummeling the Edmonton Oilers 5-0. About the only dim news is that Martin St. Louis’ surprising goal drought continued.
- The Detroit Red Wings managed a big win against the Tampa Bay Lightning (who may be primed to be the lower seed against the Montreal Canadiens in a first-round series).
- Much like the aforementioned Flyers, the Washington Capitals only managed a “charity point” in their shootout loss to the Nashville Predators.
- The Ottawa Senators crushed the Calgary Flames, although it’s almost certainly too late to matter.
Here’s a look at the standings via NBC Sports:
West stays the same, more or less
- Really, the most relevant West teams (as far as the spots/positions that are still in play) were idle on Sunday.
- The Blackhawks lost to the Penguins, as mentioned, which really just increases their chances of losing home-ice advantage against the Colorado Avalanche.
- You can basically replace the Ottawa Senators with the Nashville Predators to capture their situation (although the Preds are probably an even bigger long shot).
- The bad/lowly ranked teams lost fairly convincingly on Sunday.
Take a look for yourself:
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:
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.)
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?
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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