The Nashville Predators are just one win away from their first ever trip to the Stanley Cup. Nashville’s dream run as a No. 8 seed has finally met some resistance in this series, but a win over the Anaheim Ducks in Game 5 has them on the precipice. Meanwhile, Anaheim needs two victories in a row to get to its third Cup final ever. Both teams are seriously banged up headed into this one so it will truly be a test of whoever wants it more.
Don’t miss the action on the ice from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, May 22, 2017. Catch every moment of the game live on NBCSN. We will have NHL playoff hockey odds at BookMaker.eu for every postseason game.
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Under continues to be an amazing play in Nashville games this postseason. The under has only lost twice these entire playoffs despite being rock solid at 5 in every game but one. Don’t be surprised if the under is actually favored here at this point with what has happened thus far.
This has been a real war of attrition. Both Nashville and Anaheim have some pretty important players hurt and each side is trying to survive without key pieces.
The Predators had an awful Game 4 for a myriad of reasons. Not only did they lose the game, but Mike Fisher was hit in the head and missed Game 5 with a concussion as a result. However, the far bigger blow was losing Ryan Johansen. Johansen had to have emergency surgery following Game 4 and has already been ruled out for the rest of the playoffs. He was Nashville’s leading point scorer and his loss will be felt.
Anaheim didn’t indicate that Rickard Rakell had been hurt after Game 4, but the Ducks’ leading goal scorer in the regular season missed Game 5. It’s unclear whether or not he will return for Game 6. Perhaps the bigger question is John Gibson, Anaheim’s starting goalie. Gibson left after the first period with an injury in Game 5 and without him the Ducks must rely on Jonathan Bernier.
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Filip Forsberg has been amazing against Anaheim this series. He had tallied a goal in every game between Game 1 and Game 4 and is now on a six-game point streak after an assist on the game-winning goal for the Predators on Saturday night.
Forsberg is the Predators’ main option on offense with Johansen out for the rest of the season. He’s extremely quick and can find openings in a defense that slower players can’t. Nashville will count on him to create offense in Game 6 at home.
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Ryan Kesler has really been getting under Nashville’s skin. The two-way forward has a habit of upsetting opposing players and it was clear by the end of Game 5 that Nashville had had enough. He is seen as one of the dirtier players in the NHL, but the Predators can’t let his play rattle them.
Pekka Rinne continues to be the favorite for the Conn Smythe Trophy with his sensational play this postseason. Rinne is 11-4 with a 1.64 GAA and a .941 save percentage in the playoffs and has been the backbone for Nashville.
Anaheim is in a really bad spot here. Although the Ducks have been solid on the road this postseason, the Predators have been phenomenal at home and the crowd will be rocking the entire time their team is on the ice.
Look for James Neal to come up big for Nashville to close out Anaheim. Neal will see more chances with Johansen out and is going to make the most of them. The score will be tight throughout, but the Predators will emerge as champs.
NHL Playoff Odds: Predators 3, Ducks 2
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