Predators reach first Stanley Cup final

Colton Sissons scored his third goal with 6:00 left, and the Predators eliminated the Anaheim Ducks with a 6-3 win in Game 6 on Monday night in Nashville in the Western Conference finals.

The Nashville Predators became Western Conference champions Monday night at Bridgestone Arena, defeating the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6 of the series. They clinched the series by scoring three unanswered goals in the final six minutes of the third period, finishing off Anaheim in the six-game conference finals.

The Nashville Predators are going to the Stanley Cup Final; Sissons, Watson, Aberg, Forsberg and more in Scott Cullen's Statistically Speaking.

Now, the Preds will take on the victor of the Penguins-Senators series, which the Pens lead 3-2 and can end with a win on Tuesday.

No player deserves a trip to the Final more than Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne.

The Predators, who've never won even a division title in their 19-year history, came in with the fewest points of any team in these playoffs.

Still, the Predators' legs will be as fresh as they can be, which is a rare luxury for games played into June. We had to play defense.

"Probably means I got fired a lot", he said. "There is so much confidence in this dressing room in what we can accomplish together if we play the right way".

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Nashville's magical run started by sweeping the West's No. 1 seed in Chicago.

"Our guys know the big picture", Laviolette said of his Predators.

They traded Frederik Andersen to Toronto last summer because they saw Gibson as their goalie of the future, and it's easy to understand why.

As we expected, the games would be tight; the first two games were decided by one goal with each team winning one.

The Predators will play the victor of Thursday's Game 7 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators. The Penguins took a 1-0 lead and went on to out-shoot the Senators 46-30 for the game.

Anaheim lost in the conference finals for the second time in three years.

Anaheim came out charging in the second period putting pressure on Predator's goalie, Pekke Rinne. Chris Wagner scored the Ducks' other goal, his third of the postseason. May.

Over the last two games, Sissons was a plus-7 and collected four points, none more important than the goal which for now is the biggest in franchise history. We just believe in ourselves.

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Forsberg, who skated for the Ads in 2013-14, leads the team with 15 points and his eight goals are tied for second among all players in the postseason. Plus they had the outstanding play of Pekka Rinna, who made 38 saves, and a hat trick from Colton Sissons. They have to finish and ensure their frenetic energy actually gets the puck in the net.

But this has been the best postseason ever for Rinne, a three-time Vezina Trophy finalist, a stretch ranking among the NHL's best. Sure enough, his wife Trisha Yearwood handled the honours. Throngs packed the plaza outside the arena's front doors and the park across the street.

The Ducks had a chance to complete the comeback when Roman Josi took a delay-of-game penalty for shooting the puck over the glass.

Jonathan Bernier got thrusted into the spotlight in Game 6, replacing the injured John Gibson in Anaheim's net.

That depth has paid off, particularly the last two games after losing top center Ryan Johansen after Game 4 to emergency surgery on his left thigh. He finished a game-high plus-5.

For the Ducks, the window of opportunity is closing to win the Cup with 30-somethings Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Corey Perry and Kevin Bieksa as their leaders.

The Stanley Cup final has a chance to be an absolute grand slam for the National Hockey League, especially if the banged-up Predators can stitch together more strong efforts in the finals.

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