May 22, 2017
Colton Sissons scored a hat-trick, including his 3rd goal with 6 minutes left in regulation, as the Predators knocked off the Ducks 6-3 in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals. Nashville eliminated the Ducks for the second year in a row, and advanced to their first ever Stanley Cup Final in franchise history.
“Our effort was there and we were a desperate hockey club right from the opening faceoff, and we didn’t quit until they scored the second empty-net goal,” Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said.
The Ducks trailed 2-1 heading into a wild 3rd period. Sisson scored his 2nd goal of the game 3 minutes into the period, after relentlessly chasing after a puck in the slot, then backhanding it past Jonathan Bernier. With John Gibson sidelined with a hamstring injury, Bernier got the start, but only stopped 12 of the 16 shots he faced.
The Ducks would rally at the 5 minutes mark after a creative chip shot from Chris Wagner, which beat Pekka Rinne top shelf. 2 minutes later, Cam Fowler tied the game on a slap shot from the blue line, which got by a screen Rinne. Corey Perry had knocked down the Predators’ goaltender moments earlier, who scrambled to get back into the play, but could not make the save on the shot from Fowler. The Predators asked for a review on the play, but referees ruled it a good goal, making the score 3-3.
Just over five minutes later, Sissons 3rd goal of the night came on a cross-ice pass from Calle Jarnkrok, allowing him to connect on a one-timer which got past the blocker of Bernier. That would prove to be the game-winner.
Ducks forward Ryan Kesler was disappointed his team couldn’t keep it together after fighting back. “It definitely hurts worse when you play that good and you come back. This team showed resiliency all year. To give up a goal like that, it (bleeping) sucks.”
Trailing 4-3 with 2:33 left, the Ducks pulled Jonathan Bernier for an extra attacker, resulting in a 6-on-5 advantage. However, Nashville would add two empty-net goals, one by Filip Forsberg at 17:38, the other by Austin Watson at 18:26, his 2nd goal of the game.
Watson and Sissons scored in the 1st period to make it 2-0. Rinne made 38 saves to improve to 12-4 during this year’s post season.
Ondrej Kase scored his second career playoff goal in the 2nd period, pulling Anaheim within one heading into the 3rd period.
The Ducks outshot the Predators 41-18 for the game, but Rinne made some big stops throughout the night. Anaheim was also 0-4 on the power play.
Both teams were missing their top scorers again. Nashville was missing Ryan Johansen and Mike Fisher, while the Ducks were without Patrick Eaves and Rickard Rakell.
“There’s a lot of fight in this room,” Ducks forward Corey Perry said. “This one is going to sting for a while. You got to give credit to them too.”
The Predators will play either the defending champion Penguins or the Senators beginning Monday, May 29th. Meanwhile, Anaheim’s playoff run ends once again in disappointing fashion.