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Playoff Buzz: Ducks try to move into Western Conference Final

Anaheim can advance by defeating Oilers in Game 6 in Edmonton

NHL.com @NHL

Welcome to the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoff Buzz, your daily look at the stories impacting the 2016-17 postseason. The playoffs continue Sunday with two games. NHL.com writers covering the playoffs will be checking in throughout the day to give you latest news, including the site of the two games. Here is the playoff news for Sunday: 

 

3:43 p.m.
Back to New York

The Ottawa Senators and New York Rangers were headed to New York on Sunday, each scheduled to have an off day practice on Monday prior to Game 6 at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday (TBD).

The Rangers are down 3-2 in the best-of-7 series having played an average game on Saturday in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Senators, as coach Alain Vigneault put it. With an elimination game, they have to rely on their experience to pull them through to set up a Game 7 on Thursday.

Somehow, even though they have a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference Second Round, the Senators are the ones talking like underdogs, saying they have to play desperate hockey on Tuesday. That's the legacy of two bad games they played in New York last week, dropping Game 3 and Game 4, each by 4-1 scores. In the next two days, they know their mission: find answers.

One big question for the Senators surrounds the lineup: Will Chris Neil play? He was lauded by the team as a big reason they won on Saturday, despite negating a needed power play and playing 2:26.

 

12:45 p.m.
Andrej Sekera out for Oilers

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Andrej Sekara will miss the rest of the Western Conference Second Round, coach Todd McLellan said Sunday.

Sekera was not on the ice for the morning skate at Rogers Place on Sunday prior to Game 6 against the Anaheim Ducks. Anaheim leads the best-of-7 series 3-2.

Sekera left Game 5 at Anaheim 5:51 into the first period after being hit along the boards by Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf.

Eric Gryba likely will play in place of Sekera.

The Ducks hope to put a stop to recent history. They have lost the past four series in which they have had a 3-2 series lead.

 

11:30 a.m. 
Predators, Ducks can advance to conference final 

The Nashville Predators will try to advance to the Western Conference Final for the first time since entering the NHL in 1998 when they host the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of the Western Conference Second Round. The Predators lead the best-of-7 series 3-2 after the Blues won 2-1 at home Friday. 

The Anaheim Ducks will try to close out the Edmonton Oilers and advance to the conference final when they play Game 6 at Rogers Place. The Ducks became the first home team in the best-of-7 series to win a game when they rallied for a 4-3 double-overtime victory to take a 3-2 lead Friday. 

Video: Ducks overcome 3-0 deficit to capture Game 5 in 2OT

 

Here's a look at the playoff schedule Sunday

St. Louis Blues at Nashville Predators (3 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVA Sports) -- The Predators are 7-2 in the playoffs and 4-0 at Bridgestone Arena, where more than 17,000 fans will turn out to see if they can get past the second round for the first time. 

Though this is only Game 6 and they can't be eliminated, the Predators are treating this like a Game 7. NHL.com correspondent Robby Stanley writes that Nashville knows it will have to match the desperation of the Blues, who are playing a win-or-go-home game.

The Predators, who've won eight straight playoff games in their building, want to feed off emotion of the home crowd, Stanley writes.

The Blues could help themselves by generating some offense on the power play. Correspondent Louie Korac reports that they're last among the 16 playoff teams with the extra man (2-for-29, 6.9 percent) and aren't generating many chances.

 

Anaheim Ducks at Edmonton Oilers (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports) -- The Ducks will go for their third straight win in Edmonton riding the emotion generated by their historic comeback victory in Game 5, when they scored three times in the final 3:16 of the third period to tie the game before Corey Perry scored 6:57 into the second OT for the win. 

NHL.com staff writer Lisa Dillman reports that the Ducks hope to carry that momentum into Game 6.

Instead of returning home with a chance to close out the series, the Oilers now have to win to force Game 7. Staff writer Tim Campbell reports that the Oilers are determined to survive the latest emotional swing in a series that has had plenty of them and push it to a seventh game. 

 
9:30 a.m. 
Sidney Crosby returns for Penguins, but Capitals stay alive 

Sidney Crosby returned to the lineup for the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday, but the defending Stanley Cup champions couldn't eliminate the Washington Capitals in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Second Round at Verizon Center. 

Crosby, who sustained a concussion early in Game 3 and sat out Game 4, centered the first line and finished with one assist in 19:10 of ice time. Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin, who pointed the finger at himself following a 3-2 loss in Game 4, scored a third-period goal for Washington, which trails the best-of-7 series 3-2. Game 6 is at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh on Monday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports). 

Also in the East, the Ottawa Senators moved within one win of their first trip to the Eastern Conference Final since 2007 with an overtime victory against the New York Rangers in Game 5. As they did in Game 2, the Senators scored late in the third period to force overtime; forward Kyle Turris then scored in OT to give them a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series. 

Video: NYR@OTT, Gm5: Turris goes five-hole for OT win

 

Here's a look at what happened Saturday   

Ottawa Senators 5, New York Rangers 4 (OT) 

Turris scored 6:28 into overtime to give Ottawa the win. Game 6 is Tuesday at Madison Square Garden. 

It was the third time this postseason the Rangers allowed their opponent to score the tying goal with the goalie pulled. NHL.com senior writer Dan Rosen reports that this is an issue the Rangers are still trying to solve. 

Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson sat out the third period of Game 4 on Thursday, and that decision paid off for Ottawa on Saturday, reports NHL.com staff writer Amalie Benjamin. 

 

Washington Capitals 4, Pittsburgh Penguins 2

For the second straight season, the Capitals won Game 5 of the second round at home against the Penguins to keep their season alive. Andre Burakovsky, Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Ovechkin scored goals for Washington.

NHL.com columnist Nick Cotsonika writes that not even Crosby's quick return from a concussion was enough to enable the Penguins to hold off the Capitals.

Staff writer Tom Gulitti reports that Ovechkin came up big when the Capitals needed him the most. 

 Video: Three-goal 3rd sends Caps past Pens in Game 5, 4-2

 

Here are some things we learned on Day 25 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Senators won't quit 

The Rangers know all about the Senators' late-game heroics. But even when Ottawa went down by two goals in the first 5:13 of the first period of Game 5, the Senators did not give in or give up. They made it 2-1 when Mark Stone scored 50 seconds after New York went up by two, then scored the next two goals to take a 3-2 lead. It was a pushback they did not have in Games 3 or 4, when they did not play well. But there's more life left in these Senators, who can now clinch the series on Tuesday. 

Jimmy Vesey keeps improving 

Jimmy Vesey, the Rangers' rookie forward, had easily his best game of the playoffs. He was all over the puck, carrying it, holding it and drawing opponents to him to create space for his linemates. Vesey scored the go-ahead goal by lunging through the slot to beat Craig Anderson at 12:48 of the third period with a shot that barely crossed the goal line but was confirmed on video review. It was Vesey's first career playoff goal. He also forced the turnover in the neutral zone that led to Nick Holden's goal that put the Rangers ahead 2-0. 

Capitals still have life 

Down 2-1 after two periods, the Capitals were 20 minutes from having their season end before they rallied with three straight goals. They return to Pittsburgh for Game 6 on Monday with a chance to rewrite the ending to last season, when they were eliminated by the Penguins with a 3-2 overtime loss in Game 6. 

Marc-Andre Fleury can't steal every game 

Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was the main reason the Penguins were ahead 3-1 in the series and leading 2-1 after two periods in Game 5. But the Capitals finally got to him, scoring three goals on their first seven shots in the third. After being outshot by at least 10 for the fourth time in the series, the Penguins learned that spending so much time in their end might not be the best approach. Fleury can't erase all of their mistakes.

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