Nashville Predators Eliminate Anaheim Ducks in Western Conference Final

USATSI_10070455_154158418_lowresThe Nashville Predators didn’t need a Game Seven situation to dispatch the Anaheim Ducks, as they took home the Western Conference Final victory on Monday with a 6-3 win.

The game was a rollercoaster typical of the series, with leads changing heads and both teams pressing right up to the final buzzer.

But in the end, Nashville stood tall, Colton Sissons had a hat trick and Pekka Rinne had the win for his club. The home team had two empty net goals to cap things off.

Now, the Predators will move on to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history and will look to take home the ultimate prize in sports. They’ll face either the Ottawa Senators or Pittsburgh Penguins.

Nashville battled through injuries to take the series and earned the victory without their top two centres. Both Ryan Johansen and team captain Mike Fisher were out for Game Six, while Johansen is certainly out for the remainder of the post-season.

Fisher was on hand to accept the Clarence S. Campbell bowl, while Johansen made it out on the ice for the team photo.

Austin Watson opened the scoring in Game Six just over a minute into the first period. Sissons followed up with his first of three and the first closed with Nashville ahead 2-0.

Ondrej Kase hit back for the Ducks in the second before Sissons scored his second three minutes into the third. Chris Wagner and Cam Fowler had Anaheim’s other two goals, but Nashville took over from there. Sissons had his third and Filip Forsberg scored before Watson found the empty net for his second of the contest.

The Predators put together a strong defensive effort despite allowing 41 Anaheim shots on Rinne. They came up with 22 blocked shots and matched the Ducks’ physical game, although the visitors owned the home team in the faceoff circle and worked a better possession game.

Both teams were blanked on the power play.

The Ducks had some adversity of their own in goal, with Jonathan Bernier making a rare start with John Gibson on the shelf. The Predators didn’t do Bernier any favours and kept their shot totals down.

Nashville won’t be content with winning the conference, however. The #Smashville faithful said as much, chanting “We want the Cup” as the Campbell bowl was revealed.

You have to believe the Predators agree.

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