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Predators reach first conference final with win against Blues

NHL news and notes

by NHL Public Relations @PR_NHL

Down 1-0, the Nashville Predators scored three unanswered goals -- including the go-ahead goal by Ryan Johansen (1-1-2) at 3:15 of the third period -- to reach the Western Conference Final for the first time in their history.

* The Predators, who are 8-2 in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, have won nine consecutive postseason games at home since Game 6 of the 2016 Western Conference First Round against the Anaheim Ducks (5-0 in 2017). Nashville became the third team in the past 10 years to win nine consecutive playoff games on home ice, joining the Pittsburgh Penguins (9-0 in 2008) and Los Angeles Kings (9-0 in 2012-13).

* Johansen became the eighth different Predators player to score a game-winning goal this postseason. Elias notes that Nashville became the second team in the past 15 years to have a different player score each of its first eight game-winning goals in a playoff year (also PIT in 2013).

* Pekka Rinne (23 saves) allowed one goal or fewer for the sixth time in 10 playoff games (8-2, 1.37 GAA, .951 SV%, 2 SO). He also earned his third assist of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the second-most by a goaltender in a single postseason in the past 25 years (Martin Brodeur: 4 in 2012).

* The Predators will face the winner of the Ducks-Edmonton Oilers series in the Western Conference Final. Nashville defeated Anaheim in each of their two previous playoff series (2011 CQF: 4-2 W and 2016 FR: 4-3 W), but has never faced Edmonton in the postseason.

Video: Johansen, Josi lead Preds in Game 6 to win the series



Home Team in Caps

NASHVILLE 3, St. Louis 1 - NSH wins 4-2
EDMONTON 7, Anaheim 1 - series tied 3-3



Nashville's Peter Laviolette reached the Conference Finals for the third time as an NHL coach (also 2006 w/ CAR and 2010 w/ PHI). Elias notes that since the NHL's playoff draw became conference-based in 1994, only two other coaches have reached the Conference Finals with three different teams: Ken Hitchcock (DAL, PHI, STL) and Darryl Sutter (CHI, CGY, LAK).



The Oilers exploded for seven goals -- including five in the first period and a hat trick by Leon Draisaitl (3-2-5) -- to extend their series with the Ducks to a seventh and deciding game, the first Game 7 of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

* Edmonton scored seven goals in a playoff game for the first time since Game 2 of the 1991 Conference Finals against the Minnesota North Stars (7-2 W). Elias adds that the Oilers scored at least five goals in the first period of a playoff game for the third time in their history (also 5 in Game 1 of 1984 DSF vs. WIN and 6 in Game 2 of 1987 DSF vs. LAK).

* The Oilers scored seven goals in a playoff game when facing elimination for the second time in their history (also Game 7 of 1984 DF vs. CGY: 7-4 W). Elias adds that Edmonton became the fourth team in NHL history to score five goals in the first period of game when facing elimination, joining the Boston Bruins (Game 4 of 1980 PRE at PIT), Philadelphia Flyers (Game 5 of 1981 QF vs. CGY) and Detroit Red Wings (Game 4 of 2010 CSF vs. SJS).

* The Oilers will play a Game 7 for the first time since the 2006 Stanley Cup Final at the Carolina Hurricanes (3-1 L) and 10th time in their history. They are 6-3 in the previous nine such games, including 3-2 on the road.

* The Ducks will play a Game 7 for the fifth straight year and ninth time in their history. They are 2-6 in their previous eight Game 7s, including 1-4 on home ice; their two Game 7 victories came in the 1997 CQF vs. PHX and 2006 CQF at CGY.



Leon Draisaitl (3-2-5) established NHL career highs for goals and points in a game (regular-season and playoffs) to become the fifth different player in Oilers history to have at least five points in a playoff game, joining Wayne Gretzky (9x), Jari Kurri (3x), Glenn Anderson (2x) and Paul Coffey (2x).

* Draisaitl became the first player in Oilers playoff history to record five points in a game with Edmonton facing elimination. The last NHL player to have five points in any playoff game was Derick Brassard, who had five points (three goals, two assists) on the road to help the New York Rangers force Game 7 in the 2015 Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

* Draisaitl became the ninth player in NHL history to earn a hat trick AND five or more points with his team facing elimination. The others to achieve the feat at home: Montreal Canadiens forward Maurice Richard (Game 5 of 1945 SF vs. TOR), Red Wings forward Norm Ullman (Game 6 of 1964 SF vs. CHI), Toronto Maple Leafs forward Darryl Sittler (Game 6 of 1976 QF vs. PHI), Bruins forward Ken Linseman (Game 4 of 1985 DSF vs. MTL) and Red Wings forward Johan Franzen (Game 4 of 2010 CSF vs. SJS).

* Draisaitl became the third Oilers player in the past 25 years to earn a playoff hat trick, joining Doug Weight and Bill Guerin, who achieved the feat in Games 3 and 4, respectively, of the 2000 Conference Quarterfinals against the Dallas Stars.

* Elias adds that Draisaitl (21 years, 192 days) became the second-youngest player in Oilers history to have a hat trick in a playoff game after Gretzky did so twice as a 20-year-old in the 1981 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

* Draisaitl, who had four points (one goal, three assists) in Game 1 at Anaheim, has 13 points (five goals, eight assists)in this series and 13-13-26 in career games against the Ducks (regular-season and playoffs). Elias notes that he became the first Oilers player to have 13 points in a single playoff series since Bernie Nicholls (5-8-13 in 6 GP) in the 1992 Division Semifinals against the Kings.

* Mark Letestu (2-2-4) also had a single-game NHL career high of four points (regular-season and playoffs). Game 6 marked the 15th time in Oilers history that multiple Edmonton players had at least four points apiece in the same playoff game. The last such instance was in Game 4 of the 1990 Stanley Cup Final against Boston, when Anderson and Craig Simpson each had four points (two goals, two assists).



Elias notes that Nashville, who had 94 points in 2016-17, became the first team since 2010 (PHI and MTL) to reach the conference final despite finishing the regular season with the fewest points among playoff teams . . . Nashville has earned four of its five series-clinching victories on home ice . . . Fourteen of 22 games in the second round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs (63.6%) have featured a game-winning goal scored in either the third period (9) or overtime (5) . . . Twenty-six of 64 games this postseason (40.6%) have seen the winning team rally after trailing by at least one goal . . . Ducks forward Rickard Rakell scored for the fourth consecutive game (4-1-5) . . . The start time of Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Second Round between the Ottawa Senators and New York Rangers has been set for 7:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday. . . ICYMI: Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom and Penguins forward Carl Hagelin were mic'd up for Game 5 of their second round series . . . Predators forward Kevin Fiala, who was injured in Game 1 of their second round series, waved the rally towel before puck drop in Nashville.



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Washington @ Pittsburgh, PIT leads 3-2, 7:30 p.m., CBC, TVA Sports, NBCSN

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