Predators looking to clinch series on home ice Monday

29 May 2017, 04:21 | Kristine Mills

Predators looking to clinch series on home ice Monday

Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler shoots against Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne during the first period of Game 5 in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference finals in Anaheim Calif. Saturday

Not only did the Predators lose Game Four and the chance to take a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference Final, but they also lost their leading point-producer, Ryan Johansen, to injury. Goalkeeper Pekka Rinne saved 27 of the 29 shots he faced.

Coach Peter Laviolette declined to give any details on Johansen's apparently serious injury before Game 5 against the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night. Two key guys missed the last game but at the same time a lot of guys stepped up.

Aberg had to send himself flying across the crease to swat home a rebound of Filip Forsberg's shot for the Predators, epitomizing Nashville's persistent effort through a defensive victory. "I lost my tooth, but it didn't hurt me". It was Aberg's first career playoff goal and he was skating on the first line in place of the injured Ryan Johansen. It was his first goal since Game 1 of the second round. "I thought that's what we did". Things were going our way.

Gibson participated in the Ducks' morning skate Monday and was the first goaltender off of the ice, indicating that he could start. "We've got to do a better job maintaining what we want to do with our game plan, because they played hard tonight". Fisher left Game 4 in the third period with an undisclosed injury. If he is to go, he will probably not be 100 percent and that's not ideal for a big game on the road. "And we find ourselves back here in a situation where we can, we've gotta do it again". He's a guy in my opinion who could have been playing on our team all year. "We've won in that building before, so it doesn't really matter where we go".

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The Predators made just one trip to Chicago (397 miles by air) in the opening round of the playoffs.

That quickly changed as the Predators scored three unanswered goals the rest of the way off the sticks of Colin Wilson, a player who desperately needed to get on the right track offensively, Pontus Aberg, and Austin Watson. In nine playoff games this spring, the 5-foot-11, 196-pound winger has been Nashville's fourth-best possession player with a 5-on-5 CF% 56.87 (per Natural Stat Trick), and he has done it while spending most of his ice time with Sissons and Fisher.

The game snapped the Predators 10 home game winning streak inside Bridgestone Arena, where they've been playing to boisterous crowds that have included some of country music's top stars, with fans such as Luke Bryan, 40, Dierks Bentley, 41, Carrie Underwood, 34, and the members of Lady Antebellum in the stands to cheer on the Predators. The duo combined for 65 regular-season goals. Frederick Gaudreau drew into the lineup for his tenth career National Hockey League game.

Two third-period goals provided the Predators with the lead and insurance. For Anaheim to win and send this series back to California they need to elevate their game in all areas.



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