Ducks forward Nick Ritchie ejected in Game 6 vs. Predators

Ross Houston
June 7, 2017

Thanks largely to a surprising hat trick by Colton Sissons and yet another stellar performance from goaltender Pekka Rinne, the Predators beat the Anaheim Ducks, 6-3, in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals on Monday to win the series 4-2. In Game 1, the Ducks were badly outshot, 46-29, and lost, 3-2, in overtime. A deep run seemed inevitable. A month later, the last team to get into the playoffs is now the first team to reach the Stanley Cup Finals.

How did they do it? He has eight goals in his regular-season career and now has eight goals in the playoffs.

Rinne, interestingly enough, hasn't always been the most effective playoff performer. The Ducks and Predators have been tied or within a goal for 284 minutes, 38 seconds of the 319:49 played.

"The goals are one thing, but the way he competed, the way he defended, the penalties he killed, the faceoff battles he got into". He's tied with Detroit's Jimmy Howard for the 18th best save percentage (.914) among goalies who started at least 200 games since the start of the 2012-13 season.

The engine of everything Nashville is a top-notch defence, fronted by the imposing four-some of P.K. Subban, Mattias Ekholm, Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis - each of whom is averaging more than 24 minutes this spring.

While the cheering hugging took place in the stands and all around the state of Tennessee, the crowd are still not satisfied, as they chanted "we want the cup" as the team stood around (but didn't touch) the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl. His 15 points set a franchise playoff record. But it's not only about offence as Ellis notes.

But, against all odds, Nashville got a hat trick in Game Six from Colton Sissons and grinding winger Austin Watson produced three goals in the last two games.

"This is the worst feeling in hockey", Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said.

Anaheim Ducks right wing Ondrej Kase (86), of the Czech Republic, shoots the puck past Nashville Predators defenseman Matt Irwin (52) for a goal during the second period in Game 6 of the Western Conference final in the National Hockey League hock.

Watson, a role player, had two goals in the game. They kept owning possession and pumping shots at Rinne.

During the Western Conference Finals, there were numerous reports of fake tickets being sold to fans.

A must for any Cup contender, the Preds have found meaningful contributions from everywhere.

Yearwood is married to fellow musician Garth Brooks, who showed up for Game 6 of the conference final against the Ducks to hear her. Gill has been a season ticket holder since the inaugural season of 1998-99 and was on the committee to design the arena.

Anaheim, meanwhile, lost in the conference final for the second time in three years. He's dished out a team-high 81 hits in the playoffs and blocked 21 shots. "He will be remembered as a leader, generous teammate and tough player to play against".

The Preds fired Barry Trotz, the only coach in franchise history to that point, after missing out on a second straight post-season in 2014. He previously made it with Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers.

It's official: the Nashville Predators are going forward to face off for the Stanley Cup title for the first time in the team's history.

Pekka Power: Rinne's incredible postseason is now the signature moment in a remarkable career by a player who was taken with the final pick of the eighth round in the 2004 draft.

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