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

Sissons was up to the task, however, settling down a bouncing puck on an otherwise stupendous Calle Jarnkrok pass to score the game-winner, notching a hat trick in the process.

There has been a clear pattern developing in this series, with the Predators winning the odd-numbered games and Ducks winning the even-numbered matchups to this point. Nashville is allowing a playoff-best 1.63 goals per game.

Watson and Filip Forsberg each scored an empty-net goal to put the game out of reach for good.

In case there wasn't enough drama already in the Western Conference finals, Ducks goalie John Gibson chose to add a little more to it by not coming out on the ice to start the second period of Game 5 against the Predators.

Nashville will play the victor of the Eastern Conference final matchup between the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins and the Ottawa Senators. They've shown they're up for the challenge, as they hopped out to a 3-2 series lead so far with the chance to wrap things up at home in Nashville. The Predators are hoping to become the third No. 8 seed to advance to the Stanley Cup finals since 2006.

Nashville dominated the exhausted Ducks, and Forsberg forced a turnover on a forecheck before tipping Matt Irwin's shot through Gibson for his fourth goal.

Ear-splitting noise boosting the Preds to a 2-0 lead behind goals from Watson and Sissons in the first 8:47. Despite finishing the first period with only four shots, being outshot 12-4, the Predators were in control where it counted.

More news: Kylie Jenner under pressure in the new trailer of Life of Kylie!

(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey). NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, right, presents injured Nashville Predators captain Mike Fisher with the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl after the Predators beat the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6 of the Western Conference final in the.

Two minutes after Sissons' second goal, Anaheim's Chris Wagner banked a shot in off Rinne's mask to make it 3-2. "We've got to do a better job maintaining what we want to do with our game plan, because they played hard tonight".

The Ducks had all the momentum and had a chance to take the lead when Roman Josi took a delay of game penalty with just over eight minutes to play. Despite losing leading postseason scorer Ryan Johansen for the remainder of the playoffs, the Predators were in solid form against the Ducks, riding goaltender Pekka Rinne's 38 saves to the series-clinching victory.

In their first game without him, the Predators defeated Anaheim 3-1 on Saturday. They tied the game at 3-3 about halfway through the third period and it was looking like the contest might be headed for a white-knuckle finish.

The Ducks peppered Rinne with pucks. The Ducks aren't going to say much of anything regarding his status until its close to game time. Jhonas Enroth dressed as Bernier's backup. Left wing Nic Kerdiles could be back in for Game 6 as Rickard Rakell remains sidelined due to a lower-body injury.

Their veteran goalie and a young forward who was a healthy scratch from some key late-season games pushed them over the Western Conference finish line. His hat trick is the second in Nashville playoff history.

  • Tabitha Byrd