Torres says people are treating Cooke like a ‘serial killer’

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If you planned to put together a list of the NHL’s most controversial active hitters, Raffi Torres and Matt Cooke may very well jostle for the top spot. Perhaps it makes sense that Torres feels for his fellow polarizing winger, then.

The San Jose Sharks forward had an interesting analogy for how people view Cooke, as CSNBayArea.com reports.

“I think he’s done a heck of a job the last couple of seasons to re-establish his game,” Torres said. “But with the media getting involved and especially social media, they make him out to be a serial killer. It’s kind of painful when you have to read that kind of stuff. I’m sure his family and close friends have to read that kind of stuff.”

It’s interesting that Torres, 32, would make such a comparison in defending someone else. After all, when he was a member of the Phoenix Coyotes, his former GM Don Maloney reacted to the outrage of Torres’ hit on Marian Hossa by saying, “You would think Raffi murdered a bus load of children the way he’s portrayed here in Chicago.” (Naturally, he would come to regret that statement.)

So, basically, one over-the-top assessment for another?

Regardless, Torres seems to empathize with Cooke’s feeling of throwing a lot of hard work away with that knee-on-knee hit with Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie.

“I’m sure he felt brutal in that moment [Monday] night, thinking, ‘What did I just do? All that work goes down the drain,'” Torres said. “He’ll take what he gets and I’m sure he’ll be back being an effective player for them in the future.”

Here’s video of the Minnesota Wild winger’s hit on Barrie, which will reportedly sideline the Avs blueliner for four-to-six weeks:

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.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE.