Shorthanded Predators beat Ducks 3-1 for 3-2 series lead

Pontus Aberg scored his first career playoff goal with 8:59 to play and the Predators moved to the brink of their first Stanley Cup final with a 3-1 victory over the Ducks in Game 5 of the Western Conference final Saturday.

The Predators almost came storming back in Game 4 to take a commanding lead in the Western Conference final, but the Anaheim Ducks won in overtime after an unlucky Nashville bounce.

The Ducks, meanwhile, are trying to stave off elimination and force a Game 7 as they try to return to the Stanley Cup for the first time since they won the title in the 2006-07 season. Anaheim has not said if he will start the Monday night.

Despite holding a significant advantage at center, the Ducks failed to execute against the Predators and now face the task of winning consecutive games to advance to their first Stanley Cup finals since 2007.

Josh Manson - Anaheim's hard-hitting blueliner had poor possession numbers (13 for, 24 against, 35.1 CF%, 9-12 scoring chances) and was on for a goal against in a 3-1 Game Three loss to Nashville.

"We knew coming into tonight that we've just got to come together, play well defensively and grind it out", Rinne said.

Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson scores against Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonathan Bernier during the second period of Game 5 in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference finals in Anaheim Calif. Saturday May 20

Forsberg exemplifies the outstanding conditioning and ability to create an untenable tempo for opponents that has made Nashville so unsafe late in games. Bernier in the game gave Nashville pause... playoff goaltender changes have not normally been kind to this team and Jonathan Bernier has usually played very, very well against the Prteds. However, the Predators have been the better team in this series overall and one could argue they've been the best team throughout these entire playoffs. John Gibson was taken out due to injury after the first period on Saturday, though he's expected to be fine for Game 6. "So it's something we're focused on, but it's just about that next game and getting the next win". "Nashville" for 45 seconds before the end of the second period managed to restore parity - the "Predators", the efforts of Colin Wilson implemented the most.

The Predators will need all the support they can receive. The Predators and the Ducks dropped the gloves with under:10 seconds remaining. You cant find one of the four teams left standing that isnt missing a significant player or running out of ice at this time of year. It's the most any visiting goalie has ever recorded against the Ducks.

Johansen led the Predators with 13 points in 14 playoff games while centering their risky top line alongside Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson.

Getzlaf has scored 18 points in 16 playoff games during one of the best postseasons of his National Hockey League career, but he has been held scoreless in six of the Ducks' last seven games, including Game 5. "(Aberg's) a guy who in my opinion could have been playing on our team all year, but we have so much and so much experience ... that it didn't happen".

It feels so very National Hockey League that the Predators' savior in Game 5 was being evaluated for a concussion as he scored the game-winner.

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  • Tabitha Byrd