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Conference Final

Predators eager to finish job in Game 6 against Ducks

Nashville can earn first trip to Stanley Cup Final with win on Monday

by Robby Stanley / NHL.com Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators have an opportunity to make history on Monday. It's a chance they don't want to let slip away.

The Predators' 3-1 win in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on Saturday gave them a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series. They have an opportunity to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time with a win in Game 6 at Bridgestone Arena on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

 

[RELATED: Complete Ducks vs. Predators series coverage]

 

"We obviously know what's at stake," Predators forward Colin Wilson said. "It is one game at a time, but we know that our next win puts us into contention for the Stanley Cup. That is something we're focused on, but it is just about that next game and getting that next win."

Since the playoffs began last month, the Predators have made sure to focus on each game, not necessarily the big picture. But they know the magnitude of what a win in Game 6 could mean for them and the city of Nashville."I think we're down the road here, the guys know what the next step is," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "It's going to be a hard-fought game, so whatever pushes your buttons to make you realize where you're going to be at, then I think they've got to be dialed in. I think that's one way of motivating. That's a good way."

Video: Reaction to Preds-Ducks Game 5

The circumstances for the Predators heading into Game 5 seemed fairly dire; they lost center Ryan Johansen to a thigh injury in Game 4 that will cause him to miss the remainder of the playoffs, and center Mike Fisher left Game 4 with an undisclosed injury and did not play in Game 5.

But Nashville got scoring from Wilson, Pontus Aberg and Austin Watson and locked down on defense in the third period Saturday.

"I think it was a gutsy effort," Wilson said. "Obviously we have a few key players out, but at the same time we're going to have gutsy wins here on out. We have a team that's overcome a lot of adversity and certainly shown a lot of strength."

Depth will continue to be important for the Predators as they move forward in the playoffs. Younger players like Aberg and Frederick Gaudreau will be moved into bigger roles, but the Predators have confidence they can get the job done.

"I think especially in the playoffs, you need that depth," Predators defenseman Roman Josi said. "We have so many different guys contributing in the offense, and it's huge. It's been huge for us, a lot of guys scoring goals. It's huge in the playoffs."

The buzz around the city of Nashville is at an all-time high with the Predators one win away from advancing to the Stanley Cup Final. Hundreds of fans lined up at Signature Flight Support to welcome the Predators home from Anaheim on Sunday.

The Predators hope they can send those fans home happy Monday.

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