Game 6 tonight in Smashville. And if it wasn’t enough that the Ducks made it out of Nash-Vegas alive once, they’ve got to do it again. Because the Preds went into the Honda Center and shut it down with a 3-1 win — Pekka Rinne stopping 32 pucks as the Preds got it done in the third period, even without star center Ryan Johansen who is out for the rest of the playoffs with a thigh injury.
And now the Ducks have got to find a way to steal a win and get back on that bird and take it back to Anaheim for Game 7, and do it with goalie John Gibson less than 100% after he was injured in the first period of Game 5. And do it without Rickard Rakell who Randy Carlyle announced didn’t make the trip out for Game 6 with a lower-body injury.
Tall, tall order. And the only way to win is with a monster game from vets like Ryan Getzlaf, who just scratched out a 10,000 dollar check to the NHL after lighting up a ref for what he referred to as “vulgar language.”
And they’re going to need more than what they’re currently getting from Corey Perry, who technically got the game winner off of PK Subban’s stick in Game 4, but has been mostly missing the rest of the series. And Ryan Kesler, who may have crawled under the skin of every Nashville player, but he’s got just 1 point in this series and hasn’t scored since Game 3 against the Oilers.
So push the Ducks to the brink once more. They survived against Edmonton after getting flat-lined in Game 6 up north. They answered the bell when they absolutely needed that win in Nashville in Game 4. And now they need their vets to step up yet again. And make certain, they get off from the jump, and don’t commit any stupid penalties. Find a way to let some air out of that joint; suck the life out the locals. Take them out of the game. Because if the Preds get off to a good start and those fans are into it the way we know they can, and their guys start tapping into that energy, the Ducks are dead.
Again, they’ve been here before. They’ve played extremely well on the road this postseason. And now they’ll need another monster night from Getzlaf and Gibson to somehow answer the bell.
Do that, and we get another Game 7. If not, they’ll be left to wonder what could have been and how they let the Preds into their house to rip that critical Game 5.