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Ducks to play Game 6 vs. Predators without Rickard Rakell, Patrick Eaves

Forwards out with lower-body injuries; goalie John Gibson to be evaluated Monday

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / Columnist

NASHVILLE -- Anaheim Ducks forwards Rickard Rakell and Patrick Eaves will not play in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final against the Nashville Predators, coach Randy Carlyle said Sunday.

Goaltender John Gibson made the trip and will be evaluated at the morning skate.

Rakell and Eaves did not make the trip. Each player has a lower-body injury.

The Ducks face elimination at Bridgestone Arena on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports) with the Predators leading the best-of-7 series 3-2.


[RELATED: Complete Predators vs. Ducks series coverage]


Rakell did not play in a 3-1 loss at Anaheim on Saturday and could not skate Sunday, Carlyle said. He ranks third on the Ducks in goals (seven) and points (13) in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Eaves has missed nine games. He skated Saturday but did not have a positive response, Carlyle said. Acquired in a trade with the Dallas Stars on Feb. 24, Eaves had 14 points (11 goals, three assists) in 20 games down the stretch and four points (two goals, two assists) in seven games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Held to one goal in two of the past three games, the Ducks will have to find a way generate more offense without them.

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"I think you're going to have your best games from our best players because that's what they do," forward Andrew Cogliano said. "But it needs to be other guys who step up, and hopefully that's the case for guys like myself and guys who are lesser in the lineup and lower in the lineup and maybe not the prominent scorers, because those are the guys who usually make the difference. Hopefully it's one of those nights where you just play the game without having any regrets afterwards."

Gibson left after the first period on Saturday. Backup goalie Jonathan Bernier allowed two goals on 18 shots in the second and third.

Bernier has never started a playoff game, but he has played seven full seasons in the NHL. He went 21-7-4 with a .915 save percentage in the regular season, including 11-0-2 with a .932 save percentage in his last 13 games.

"He had a pretty impressive record," Carlyle said. "He is a veteran guy and he pays attention to the details, and he works hard in practice to stay ready. So that gives us a lot of confidence in his abilities."

Defensemen Kevin Bieksa and Hampus Lindholm said there would be little adjustment should Bernier start.

"We've had a lot of games with [Bernier] this year, so we're comfortable with exchanges and handoffs," Bieksa said. "We practice every day too. So there's not a big falloff for sure. We're comfortable. We're one of those teams, much like Pittsburgh, where we have two great goalies we have a lot of confidence in. Whoever goes, we play as hard as we can in front of him."

Lindholm said, "I'll try to block the shots whoever's in the net anyway."

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