Cam Tucker

Pontus Aberg ‘face planted … and lost my tooth’ before scoring winning goal for Predators

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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.

John Gibson (lower-body injury) seems confident he’ll be ready for Game 6

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The Anaheim Ducks now need a win to force a seventh game in the Western Conference Final. They’ll have the opportunity on Monday, as the series shifts back to Nashville.

Ducks goalie John Gibson left Saturday’s Game 5 after the first period and didn’t return because of a lower-body injury.

Jonathan Bernier replaced Gibson and gave up two goals on 18 shots, as Anaheim lost 3-1 on home ice and now sits on the brink of elimination.

Despite his injury Saturday, Gibson seems pretty confident he’ll be ready for Game 6.

“He made the statement he’d be in the next game for us when canvassed him after the game,” coach Randy Carlyle told reporters.

“We can’t risk him. Maybe that’s the adrenaline and whatnot. We’ll do an assessment tomorrow, and we’ll do an assessment once we get to Nashville Monday morning, and we’ll see where that takes us.”

Injuries have become a huge story in this series — for both teams. The Ducks were already without Patrick Eaves and just prior to puck drop Saturday, it was revealed Rickard Rakell would not play because of a lower-body injury.

According to Carlyle after the game, Eaves and Rakell are both considered day to day.

Eaves skated earlier in the day, which is promising for the Ducks.

Predators win Game 5, push Ducks to brink of elimination

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The Nashville Predators are one win away from reaching the Stanley Cup Final.

Despite missing centers Ryan Johansen and Mike Fisher due to injuries and having to shuffle their lineup accordingly, the Predators got a third-period go-ahead goal from Pontus Aberg and then held on to defeat the Anaheim Ducks 3-1 in Game 5 on Saturday.

Nashville takes a 3-2 series lead.

Talk about a timely goal from Aberg, Nashville’s second-round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft. That’s his first career Stanley Cup playoff goal and just his second career goal in the NHL.

The biggest story of this series over the last day has been the injury to Johansen, the Predators’ leading point producer in these playoffs prior to Saturday, and how his absence is a huge blow to their Stanley Cup hopes.

Well, the Predators were able to respond with a huge win on the road.

“Well, I mean, that’s a factor, sure, that we’re without Ryan. I think there’s no question about that. With regard to our players’ heads, they’ve been in the right place, I think, through the entire playoffs and they remain in the right place,” said Predators coach Peter Laviolette prior to Game 5.

“We’ve got a job to do tonight. We wish Ryan was here with us, but he’s not. We’ve got to move forward. And there’s a lot of trust and belief inside of our room that we can be successful.”

Without Johansen, it was mentioned yesterday the need for other members of the Predators to step up and fill the void offensively.

Aberg did his part, converting on a rebound after Filip Forsberg was stopped on the initial shot. Colin Wilson also scored for Nashville. In the previous two playoffs, Wilson had been producing at just below a point per game pace. So far this year, he had only three points in 10 games, but he buried a power play goal in the second period to tie it a goal apiece.

That tying goal came just after Josh Manson was called for a cross check on Forsberg. Prior to that, officials missed a Forsberg high stick on Manson, who was bleeding as a result. More controversy later on, as Predators goalie Pekka Rinne appeared to play the puck outside of the trapezoid, however there was no call.

While the Predators received timely scoring, Rinne was spectacular making 32 saves.

The Ducks began this game without Rickard Rakell, who did not play because of a lower-body injury. The drama continued later on, as goalie John Gibson was replaced by Jonathan Bernier at the beginning of the second period.

The Ducks later announced that Gibson suffered a lower-body injury and was questionable to return.

Game 6 goes Monday in Nashville.

Ducks’ Jonathan Bernier takes over in net to begin second period (Updated)

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More drama between the Ducks and Predators.

Jonathan Bernier began Game 5 as the back-up to John Gibson. However, Bernier found himself in net to begin the second period with the score tied 0-0.

Gibson stopped all 10 shots he faced in the first period. It wasn’t immediately clear why he wasn’t in net to start the second period.

Updated:

The Ducks announced before the third period that Gibson has a lower-body injury and is questionable to return to this game.

Bernier has played twice during these playoffs. On April 17 versus the Flames, he took over for Gibson and ended up stopping all 16 shots he faced for a win. He then came in to relieve Gibson in Game 6 versus the Oilers in the second round.

Much has been made of Nashville’s injury problems in the last 48 hours. The attrition of this series and the playoffs in general has also affected the Ducks, who were already without Patrick Eaves dating back to the second round and without Rickard Rakell for Game 5 versus Nashville due to a lower-body injury.

Ducks’ Rickard Rakell will miss Game 5 with lower-body injury

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The Anaheim Ducks announced during warm-ups for Game 5 that Rickard Rakell will not play because of a lower-body injury.

With this series between the Ducks and Predators tied 2-2, that’s a significant loss for Anaheim.

In 15 playoff games this spring, Rakell has seven goals and 13 points, and was on a three-game point streak. He also had a career best 33 goals and 51 points during the regular season. That’s a key offensive player out of the lineup.

Meanwhile, Predators captain and center Mike Fisher was not on the ice for warm-ups, per multiple reports.

Nashville was already going to be without its top center Ryan Johansen for this game and the remainder of the playoffs.