Gibson out, Bernier makes 1st playoff start in net for Ducks

With the game tied at 3-3 in the third it was Sissons third goal of the night with 6 minutes to play that gave Nashville the historic victory. With every game, the Predators kept pounding away and applying more dents on their opponent until the Ducks finally caved in. Starting goalie Jonathan Bernier struggled to react to Watson's shot, and it bounced right off of one of his teammates, Ryan Kesler, in for the goal.

The Ducks cut the lead to one with another dominant period in the second.

It sent the Predators into their first Stanley Cup final, to begin Monday against either Pittsburgh or Ottawa, and it frustrated a Ducks squad that had repeatedly proven it cared little about the depth of the holes they found themselves.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Nashville Predators, the final team into the National Hockey League playoffs, are headed to the first Stanley Cup Final in franchise history. We worked so all year for this, so it feels good to get this far.

Filip Forsberg and Austin Watson iced the win at 17:38 and 18:26, respectively, with empty-net goals to seal the Western Conference finals series by a 4-2 margin.

Colton Sissons added a goal at 8:47 off a neutral-zone turnover by the Ducks, making it 2-0. They used up all their sweat equity in tying the Predators, 3-3, in the third period and even had a power play after that.

In ousting the Anaheim Ducks with a 6-3 victory in Game 6, GM David Poile's team advanced to the championship round for the first time in his lengthy time as an executive.

Anaheim Ducks right wing Chris Wagner (21) scores against Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne during the second period of Game 5 in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference finals in Anaheim, Calif., Saturday, May 20, . It was Bernier's first career playoff start - he replaced an injured John Gibson - and he stopped just 12 of 16 between the pipes. "They understand what it is that we're trying to do here".


Game 6 is Monday night in Nashville.

"I don't think I even dreamt of this moment, scoring a hat trick in the Western Conference clinching game, but I can't speak enough for just our whole group", Sissons said.

Losing Rakell to a lower-body injury heading into Game 5 hurt for a multitude of reasons.

The Predators relied heavily on Rinne to preserve the 2-1 lead.

"There's a lot of fight in this room and this one's going to sting for a while", Perry said.

The Ducks had a chance to take the lead when Roman Josi wristed the puck over the glass to earn a delay-of-game penalty with 8:03 remaining in the third.

If Gibson is out, Jhonas Enroth, who has also been with the team, would dress as Bernier's backup. The Nashville Predators announced Friday that Johansen, their top-line center, would be out for the remainder of the post-season after suffering acute compartment syndrome in his thigh, an ailment which required immediate medical attention and will sideline Johansen for months.

NOTES: C Frederick Gaudreau made his Stanley Cup playoff debut for Nashville, and veteran C Vern Fiddler returned from a two-game absence.


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