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game recap

Predators oust Ducks to reach first Stanley Cup Final

Colton Sissons scores hat trick, Pekka Rinne makes 38 saves in Game 6 win

by Robby Stanley / NHL.com Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators advanced to their first Stanley Cup Final with a 6-3 win against the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final at Bridgestone Arena on Monday.

Nashville won the best-of-7 series 4-2 and will face the winner of the Eastern Conference Final between the Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins in the Cup Final, which begins Monday, May 29.

 

[WATCH: All Predators vs. Ducks highlights | Complete Nashville vs. Anaheim series coverage]

 

Colton Sissons scored three goals for his first Stanley Cup Playoff hat trick and Pekka Rinne made 38 saves for Nashville.

"It feels good man, I'm not going to lie," Sissons said. "Obviously I don't think I could have dreamt of this moment, scoring a hat trick in a Western Conference clinching game. But I can't speak enough of our whole group. We've been through some challenges together, and we stuck together no matter what. We believed, and here we are."

Sissons gave the Predators a 4-3 lead with 6:00 left in the third period on a one-timer from the left faceoff circle.

Cam Fowler tied it 3-3 at 8:52 of the third on a slap shot from the point. Corey Perry was in front screening Rinne.

The Predators challenged the call on the ice for goaltender interference on Perry, but the call was upheld after video review.

Chris Wagner scored to make it 3-2 at 5:00.

Austin Watson gave the Predators a 1-0 lead at 1:21 of the first period.

Sissons gave the Predators a 2-0 lead at 8:47 on a wrist shot from the slot. He took a pass from Pontus Aberg and beat Jonathan Bernier.

Video: ANA@NSH, Gm6: Sissons nets hatty in huge Game 6

Ondrej Kase scored for the Ducks to make it 2-1 at 4:45 of the second period on a wrist shot from the slot.

"I look at the game and I look at our body of work and how we played, I don't think I'd complain about our effort," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. "We could make some definite improvements in our execution, but our effort was there and we were a desperate hockey club right from the opening faceoff and we didn't quit until they scored the second empty-net goal."

Sissons gave the Predators a 3-1 lead 3:00 into the third off of a rebound from the slot.

Filip Forsberg scored an empty-net goal to make it 5-3 and set a Predators record for most goals in a single postseason with eight.

Video: ANA@NSH, Gm6: Preds, Ducks shake hands at center ice

Watson added another empty-net goal to make it 6-3.

"We're happy right now, it's awesome," Predators defenseman Roman Josi said. "Proud of this team. We worked hard all year. We worked hard for this, and now we've got a chance to play for the Stanley Cup. I couldn't be happier right now."

Ducks forward Nick Ritchie was given a major penalty and game misconduct for a hit on forward Viktor Arvidsson in the first period.

Bernier started in place of John Gibson, who left after the first period in a 3-1 loss in Game 5 because of a lower-body injury.

 

Goal of the game

Sissons tried to cut to the net but was stopped before completing his hat trick. Calle Jarnkrok collected the loose puck and passed to Sissons after he got lost in coverage.

Video: ANA@NSH, Gm6: Sissons completes hat trick for lead

 

Save of the game

Rinne made a pad save on Andrew Cogliano early in the first period on a puck that rebounded off the end boards and onto Cogliano's stick. Rinne got just enough of the puck with his pad to direct it away from the net.

Video: ANA@NSH, Gm6: Rinne slides across to deny Cogliano

 

Unsung performance of the game

Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm played a game-high 27:18, including 3:44 shorthanded to help kill all four of Anaheim's power plays. Ekholm also had three blocked shots.

 

Highlight of the game

Sissons' second goal came on a scramble in front of Bernier. Aberg was whacking at the puck in the crease but Sissons got to the rebound and beat Bernier through the five-hole.

Video: ANA@NSH, Gm6: Sissons nets his second of the night

 

They said it

"This is the worst feeling in hockey. We worked so hard all year and in the game, and it is incredibly frustrating." -- Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf on the loss

 

"For me, it was a year-long season for him. He worked every day to show who he was as a player, kind of the same conversation we had with [Sissons], and it was very clear as to who he was as a player. And I think he even expanded upon that in the playoffs, his physicality, his durability, his commitment and will and win to be successful, to take on the hard jobs, blocking shots, taking hits, giving hits, fighting people, those are tough jobs. I think he's done a terrific job, not only all year but certainly, again, another guy in the playoffs who's expanded from the regular season and become a better player." -- Predators coach Peter Laviolette on forward Austin Watson, who scored twice and had six blocked shots

 

Need to know

Laviolette is the fourth coach in NHL history to reach the Cup Final with three different teams; he won the Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006 and lost it in 2010 with the Philadelphia Flyers. He joins Dick Irvin, Scotty Bowman and Mike Keenan. The Predators improved to 7-1 at Bridgestone Arena in the playoffs and have outscored opponents 25-13 at home. Nashville captain Mike Fisher, who missed the game because of an undisclosed injury, was on the ice following the game to accept the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl as conference champions, along with injured forwards Ryan Johansen and Kevin Fiala. Predators forward Craig Smith participated in warmups but did not play. He has missed six games because of an undisclosed injury. … The Ducks won 62 percent of faceoffs, led by Getzlaf (8-for-11) and Antoine Vermette (16-for-23). Anaheim outshot Nashville 41-18.

 

What's next

Predators: Game 1 of Stanley Cup Final on Monday, May 29 (TBD)

Ducks: Season over

 

Video: Sissons propels Preds to first Cup Final in 6-3 win

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