Cam Tucker


WATCH LIVE: Nashville Predators at Anaheim Ducks

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What a turn of events in the Western Conference Final between the Anaheim Ducks and Nashville Predators.

The Ducks won Game 4 in overtime on Thursday to even the series. The following day, it was revealed that Nashville’s top center and point producer in the playoffs, Ryan Johansen, had hip surgery and is done for the postseason. That’s a major blow to the Predators’ Stanley Cup playoff chances.

On Saturday, the Ducks and Predators clash in Game 5 at the Honda Center. The winner moves within one victory of reaching the Stanley Cup Final.

Nashville Predators at Anaheim Ducks (Series tied 2-2)

Time: 7:15 p.m. ET

Network: NBC (Stream live here)

Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:

NHL fines Ryan Getzlaf for ‘inappropriate remark’ from Game 4

‘Nothing’s going to be easy’ for Predators — especially after the loss of Ryan Johansen

Ducks need to stay out of the box in crucial moments

What Mike Fisher’s injury could mean for Predators

Carlyle: Eaves skated Saturday, could be ‘one step closer to joining our lineup’


Plenty of focus has been placed on the sudden injury — and subsequent surgery — to Ryan Johansen, who will now miss the remainder of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Rightfully so, too.

He was Nashville’s leading point producer this postseason, playing a critical role as the middle man on the Predators’ top line and in the team’s first-ever trip to the Western Conference Final.

As stated plenty of times over by now, this is a huge loss for the Predators — especially now, when they’re two wins away from reaching the Stanley Cup Final. With this series between the Ducks and Predators tied 2-2, Game 5 goes Saturday in Anaheim.

Related: WATCH LIVE: Predators at Ducks — Game 5

However, Ducks coach Randy Carlyle would like to point out that his team has been without Patrick Eaves and his offensive capabilities since Game 3 of the second round.

Anaheim acquired the 33-year-old right winger prior to the trade deadline and Eaves was an instant fit in the Ducks’ lineup. In 20 regular season games with the Ducks, he had 11 goals and 14 points. In seven playoff games, he had two goals and four points.

If you were expecting even an ounce of compassion from Carlyle toward the Predators after losing Johansen, well, it’s not happening.

“I think what happens is, when you lose players, it’s part of life in the playoffs,” said Carlyle on Saturday.

“We lost a pretty good player in Patrick Eaves. You guys seem to forget about that. He was one of our top goal scorers, maybe one of our best players since the trade deadline. Reignited our offense.

“So what we tried to do is you try to do it by committee. Because one player is not going to replace Patrick Eaves. And we know that. So it gives other people an opportunity to get some minutes maybe they wouldn’t normally get. And that’s the way you treat it.”

For the Predators, the question marks at center go beyond missing Johansen. Mike Fisher was hurt in Game 4 and Nashville’s coach Peter Laviolette didn’t want to discuss his status prior to puck drop Saturday. At this point, it’s not yet known if Fisher will play in Game 5.

As for Eaves and his status, Carlyle provided a promising update.

“He’s, actually, I think skating right now. So he’s testing it,” said Carlyle. “And obviously that’s a good sign when we have players on the ice. It means they’re one step closer to joining our lineup.”

Matt Murray was ‘solid’ for Penguins in return to starting role


After backing the Pittsburgh Penguins to a Stanley Cup last year, Matt Murray finally made his first start of the 2017 playoffs on Friday.

The Penguins held on for the win, tying the Eastern Conference Final with the Ottawa Senators at 2-2. Murray, put back into the No. 1 role after coach Mike Sullivan opted to go with the 22-year-old puck stopper over Marc-Andre Fleury in the wake of a Game 3 loss, made 24 saves for the win.

The Sens made it interesting in the third period, cutting Pittsburgh’s lead to just a goal and then getting a power play in the final minute with a chance to tie the game.

The Sens looked outmatched through two periods but pushed for the equalizer in the third. Murray turned aside nine of 10 shots faced in the final 20 minutes.

“I thought Matt was solid. He made some timely saves for us when we needed it,” said Sullivan. “He has a calm demeanor about him. I thought he was tracking the puck extremely well. And certainly, he made a couple of key saves for us at key times. We’re fortunate that we have the guys that we have back there, whether it be Matt or Marc.”

The Penguins got the desired result Friday, but this was still another goaltending gamble from Sullivan. Once again, it worked out in his favor.

“We believe that we have both guys back there that are really high quality goaltenders,” he said. “So these decisions aren’t easy — which particular guy that we choose to put in the net. Certainly, we trust these guys, and that’s why we can make these types of decisions.”

Following the win, Fleury spoke about once again being placed in the back-up role. His future with the Penguins will certainly be up for discussion once the season comes to an end, but for now, he’s sticking true to the team-first mentality.

“I don’t want to make this about me,” Fleury told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Last playoff, this season, it’s about the team. We won [Friday]. Scored some goals. That was nice.”

NHL confirms dates for 2017 Stanley Cup Final


Game dates for this year’s Stanley Cup Final have been set.

Plan accordingly.

Following Friday’s game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators, the league released the dates for the next round. Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final goes May 29.

Here’s the complete list:

Of course, the teams that will compete next round for the Stanley Cup have yet to be determined.

The Penguins held on to defeat the Senators on Friday, tying the Eastern Conference Final at two games apiece as the series shifts back to Pittsburgh for Game 5 on Sunday.

The Penguins’ depth on defense has been tested throughout the playoffs due to a list of injuries. Chad Ruhwedel is the latest. He has a concussion, said coach Mike Sullivan, after a controversial hit into the boards from Bobby Ryan.

The dynamic of the Western Conference Final has shifted dramatically in the last 24 hours. The Anaheim Ducks evened the series at 2-2 with an overtime win Thursday. The Nashville Predators received more troubling news Friday, as center and leading scorer Ryan Johansen had emergency hip surgery and is done for the playoffs.

Game 5 of that series goes Saturday.

Sullivan: Chad Ruhwedel has a concussion


The Pittsburgh Penguins are dealing with yet another injury on defense.

Chad Ruhwedel left Friday’s Game 4 against the Ottawa Senators after getting hit into the boards by Bobby Ryan. The hit occurred in the final minute of the first period. Ruhwedel didn’t return and Pittsburgh played the rest of the game with five defensemen.

Following his team’s 3-2 victory to even the Eastern Conference Final at two games apiece, head coach Mike Sullivan announced that Ruhwedel has a concussion and will be evaluated when the team returns to Pittsburgh.

Sullivan also didn’t want to offer his opinion of the hit, which officials didn’t penalize.

“It’s not my job to evaluate how the call was made or not made,” said Sullivan. “You know, the referees are going to see it the way they see it, and they do the best job they can. We’re just going to play the game.”

The Penguins have been without Kris Letang for the entire post-season, and Justin Schultz has missed the last two games of this series due to injury. In Game 3, Trevor Daley returned to the lineup, as Pittsburgh went with seven defensemen, including Ruhwedel and Mark Streit.