Under Pressure: Jarome Iginla

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Look, this isn’t to say that the Colorado Avalanche’s success in 2014-15 will be dependent on Jarome Iginla. The 37-year-old winger will be a reasonably significant part of the equation, to be sure; however, the young core of Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, Ryan O’Reilly, Nathan MacKinnon, and Semyon Varlamov is exactly that — the core. As in, the most important part.

We picked Iginla for this post because, after leaving Calgary to chase his first Stanley Cup in Pittsburgh and Boston, he still doesn’t have a ring. Evidently, he feels has a chance to get one in Colorado.

“With this group, I think the sky is the limit,” Iginla said, per the Denver Post, after signing a three-year, $16 million deal with the Avs. “When I think of some of the teams that have had success in the NHL in the last five or six years, I think of Chicago; they were a very young, very talented team that moved up very quickly, that had a very talented young core when they won.”

How ready the Avs really are to compete for a Cup is up for debate. On paper, Colorado’s blue line doesn’t look championship caliber. Certainly, there’s no Zdeno Chara, Drew Doughty or Duncan Keith back there.

Of course, for Iginla, it’s not just about next season in Colorado. There’s a reason he pushed for a three-year deal.

“You don’t want to come and just have one shot at it, on a one-year deal,” he said.

But Iginla has played 1,310 games in his stellar NHL career. Only two active players, Jaromir Jagr (1,473) and Shane Doan (1,315) have played more than that.

So while he’s not quite down to his last shot to hoist Lord Stanley, he’s getting there.

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.