This isn’t good news for the Anaheim Ducks.
On Sunday, head coach Randy Carlyle said that forwards Patrick Eaves and Rickard Rakell did not travel with the team to Nashville and will not be available for Game 6 tomorrow.
The Ducks trail the Nashville Predators 3-2 in the Western Conference Final, following Saturday’s 3-1 loss at home.
Rakell, who has 13 points in 15 games this postseason, didn’t play Saturday, with the official announcement of his absence from the lineup because of a lower-body injury coming during the warm-up.
Eaves, who had instantly fit in with Anaheim’s lineup after he was acquired prior to the trade deadline, hasn’t played since Game 3 of the second round.
The news comes one day after Eaves skated — a promising sign at the time, with Carlyle saying yesterday the veteran right winger was one step closer to potentially returning to the lineup.
“It wasn’t a positive response from Eaves in skating yesterday,” said Carlyle on Sunday. “So we decided we’d leave him at home. And Rakell wasn’t ready to skate today. So both players are not available to us.”
Now, the biggest concern for the Ducks is whether John Gibson will be ready for Game 6.
The Ducks goalie left Saturday’s contest after the first period with a lower-body injury. He didn’t return, although he apparently stated to the coaching staff that he will be ready to play Monday.
He will be re-evaluated tomorrow, said Carlyle.
Did that car break down? Need a lift? Who should you call?
Well, if you’re Nick Bonino, it’s apparently best to call teammate Phil Kessel.
According to numerous reports, the story goes that while driving to PPG Paints Arena for Game 5 against the Ottawa Senators on Sunday, Bonino’s truck broke down. No worries. Kessel reportedly came to the rescue with a roadside assist, picking Bonino up and getting him to the arena on time.
“It was weird. All of a sudden the gas didn’t work and the power steering went out in the middle of the highway. I was able to get it to the side,” Bonino told reporters.
“Great teammate Phil Kessel came and picked me up. I owe a lot to Phil tonight for being here, a great guy.”
The camaraderie of the vaunted HBK Line from a year ago still runs strong.
Bonino had a pair of assists and Kessel had a goal and an assist, as the Penguins dismantled the Senators 7-0 to take a 3-2 series lead, pushing Pittsburgh within one victory of reaching the Stanley Cup Final.
Sweden halted Team Canada’s bid for a third straight World Championship title thanks to a 2-1 shootout victory on Sunday.
Nicklas Backstrom and Oliver Ekman-Larsson both scored on Calvin Pickard in the shootout, while Henrik Lundqvist turned aside 42 of 43 shots he faced during regulation and overtime, and then turned aside all four Canadian attempts in the shootout.
Time to celebrate for Sweden.
Is that William Nylander with the hit of the tournament?
In seriousness, that’s a great moment for the 35-year-old Lundqvist, who passionately stated his reasons for joining Team Sweden after the New York Rangers were ousted from the Stanley Cup playoffs in the second round.
“My brother [Joel] is the captain there and I haven’t played with him for 12 years,” said Lundqvist earlier this month. “Also the fact that we’re not part of the Olympics. I see this as an opportunity to play for my country one more time and with my brother. I’m going to go there and try and finish really strong this season and I’m going to reflect.”
Nylander, only 21 years of age, added to his impressive first full NHL season by being named the tournament’s most valuable player.
The defending champions are one win away from once again reaching the Stanley Cup Final.
Despite numerous injury concerns, particularly on defense, the Pittsburgh Penguins came roaring out of the gate in the first period, scoring four times and chasing Craig Anderson from the Senators’ net, before cruising to a 7-0 victory on home ice.
A great start for Pittsburgh. A disastrous start for Ottawa.
The Penguins now lead the Eastern Conference Final 3-2, and they will have their first chance to eliminate the Senators on Tuesday in Ottawa.
For the second time in as many games, Olli Maatta got the Penguins on the board first. In the span of just over 10 minutes Sunday, the Penguins suddenly opened up a four-goal lead. This one was over quickly.
Sidney Crosby on the power play, Bryan Rust and Scott Wilson continued the onslaught. Anderson allowed four goals on 14 shots before giving way to Mike Condon to begin the second period.
It turned into a blowout from there.
Pittsburgh continued to add to their lead, and dominated puck possession and the shot clock against the listless Senators the rest of the way.
Adding further concern for the Senators will be the condition of captain Erik Karlsson. Having played through a foot injury in these playoffs, Karlsson left Game 5 after an awkward fall during the second period and didn’t return for the third period.
Pontus Aberg scored his first career Stanley Cup playoff goal on Saturday, and then he was removed from the game and put through concussion protocol.
In his ninth career postseason game, Aberg scored what turned out to be the winning goal for the Nashville Predators versus the Anaheim Ducks in Game 5.
He was in the right spot to collect a rebound from a Filip Forsberg shot, diving around Jonathan Bernier to slide the puck into the net just past the midway point of the third period.
Prior to that, however, Aberg was hit to the ice — an incident that didn’t go unnoticed.
Aberg was eventually removed from the Predators bench to undergo protocol. According to NHL.com, he didn’t play another shift after his goal — even though he said the incident that forced him from the game occurred before he scored.
“They called me off of there, after I scored that goal,” he said. “So I didn’t expect that. It didn’t hurt me at all. But the league called it in, so I had to. But I’m feeling good.
“I kind of face planted there and lost my tooth, but it didn’t hurt my head.”
The Predators now have a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference Final. Game 6 of the series goes Monday in Nashville, as the Predators will look to secure a spot in the Stanley Cup Final, which would be another first for this franchise.