PREDATORS CLINCH FIRST-EVER BERTH IN STANLEY CUP FINAL
After the Anaheim Ducks rallied from down 3-1 in the third period, Colton Sissons scored the go-ahead goal and completed his hat trick with 6:00 remaining in Game 6 to lift the Nashville Predators to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in their history. Nashville, which began play in 1998-99 and is competing in the postseason for the 10th time, had three series wins prior to the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs (3-9).
* The Predators, who ranked 16th in NHL's regular-season standings and qualified for the postseason as the second wild card team from the Western Conference (41-29-12, 94 points), became the third club seeded lowest in its conference to advance to the Stanley Cup Final since the League adopted the conference-based playoff format in 1994. The others: the 2006 Oilers (4-3 L vs. CAR) and 2012 Kings (4-2 W vs. NJD).
* At least one team outside the top 10 in the NHL's regular-season standings has reached the Stanley Cup Final in eight of the past 15 seasons. The others: the 2002 Carolina Hurricanes (16th), 2004 Calgary Flames (12th), 2006 Edmonton Oilers (14th), 2010 Philadelphia Flyers (18th), 2012 Los Angeles Kings (13th), 2014 New York Rangers Rangers (12th) and 2016 San Jose Sharks (11th).
* Sissons, who has one hat trick in his NHL regular-season career (109 GP), had the second three-goal game in Predators playoff history -- following Filip Forsberg's hat trick in Game 5 of the 2015 Western Conference First Round against the Chicago Blackhawks. Elias notes that Sissons became the first player to score a hat trick in a series-clinching win in the conference final since Chicago's Patrick Kane in 2013 (vs. LAK).
* Sissons, who had 10 points (eight goals, two assists) in the regular season (58 GP), has matched that point total during the playoffs (5-5-10 in 16 GP). He did not have a point in any of his 10 Stanley Cup Playoff appearances prior to 2017.
* The Predators next will face the winner of the Eastern Conference Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators. Only one player on Nashville's roster has previously appeared in a Stanley Cup Final game: Mike Fisher, who had four points (two goals, two assists) with Ottawa in 2007 vs. ANA (5 GP).
Video: Sissons propels Predators to first Stanley Cup Final
Home Team in Caps
NASHVILLE 6, Anaheim 3 - NSH wins 4-2
OTHER PREDATORS CONTRIBUTE IN HISTORIC WIN . . .
* Filip Forsberg had two points (goal, assist) to extend his point streak to seven games (5-3-8), matching a Predators playoff record also achieved by Ryan Ellis this postseason. Forsberg has 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs (16 GP), the most goals and points in a single postseason in Predators history.
* Pekka Rinne made 38 saves to improve to 12-4 in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs (1.70 GAA, .941 SV%, 2 SO), including 7-1 at Bridgestone Arena (1.54 GAA, .947 SV%).
* Austin Watson (2-0-2) had his first NHL career multi-goal performance (regular season or playoffs, 156 GP).
. . . LAVIOLETTE JOINS ELITE COMPANY
Peter Laviolette, who won the Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes in 2006 and reached the Final with the Flyers in 2010, became the fourth coach in NHL history to lead three different teams to the Stanley Cup Final. The others: Dick Irvin (CHI, TOR, MTL), Scotty Bowman (STL, MTL, PIT, DET) and Mike Keenan (PHI, CHI, NYR).
The Predators improved to 3-0 in three all-time playoff series vs. ANA (also 2011 CQF: 4-2 W and 2016 FR: 4-3 W) . . . ICYMI: Renowned Canadian artist Tony Harris unveiled portraits of Jacques Lemaire and Gilbert Perreault as part of the NHL Centennial Celebration . . . Country music star Trisha Yearwood sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" and former Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George rallied the crowd prior to Game 6 at Bridgestone Arena . . . Thousands of fans watched Nashville's series-clinching win outside the arena.
SNEAK PEEK AT TUESDAY'S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Pittsburgh @ Ottawa, PIT leads 3-2, 8 p.m., CBC, TVA Sports, NBCSN
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PENGUINS AIM FOR SECOND STRAIGHT FINAL APPEARANCE
The Penguins aim to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the second straight season and sixth time in their history when they visit the Senators in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final at Canadian Tire Centre. Pittsburgh looks to become the first NHL team to make consecutive appearances in the Final since it faced Detroit in back-to-back years in 2008 (4-2 L) and 2009 (4-3 W).