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Nicholas J. Cotsonika

NHL Insider

Dream season continues for Predators

Nashville hopes party isn't over after advancing to Cup Final with win vs. Ducks in Game 6

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / NHL.com Columnist

NASHVILLE -- Music City is about its sounds, from the live country songs playing in the honkytonks on Broadway, to the lively hockey crowds roaring inside Bridgestone Arena.

Well, Monday night, Music City heard a sound it never had before.

With a 6-3 victory against the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final, the Nashville Predators clinched their first appearance in the Stanley Cup Final.

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Predators playoff run creating endless love between fans, team

Community bracing for biggest moment with Nashville one win from first Stanley Cup Final

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / NHL.com Columnist

NASHVILLE -- When the Nashville Predators disembarked from the plane at Nashville International Airport on Sunday, they walked down a staircase onto the tarmac. They were more than 100 yards from the terminal at Signature Flight Support. The wind swirled. The engines whined.

Still they could hear it.

Pete Weber, the play-by-play voice of the Predators since they entered the NHL in 1998, said he was about 60 feet off the steps when he heard the mascot, Gnash, and his drum going "thump, thump, thump-thump-thump."

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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 / NHL.com 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.

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Conference Final

Predators using depth to thrive in playoffs

Unlikely players among reasons Nashville can advance to Cup Final with win against Ducks in Game 6

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / NHL.com Columnist

ANAHEIM -- The bags sat in the hall outside the victors' locker room at Honda Center on Saturday. Most were the blue and gold of the Nashville Predators, but some were the navy blue and light blue of Milwaukee of the American Hockey League.

The Stanley Cup Playoffs test the depth of your organization and the depth of your soul, and the Predators passed on both counts in a 3-1 win against the Anaheim Ducks in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final. They lead the best-of-7 series 3-2 and can clinch their first Stanley Cup Final appearance in Game 6 at Nashville on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

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Conference Final

Predators unfazed by injuries, defeat Ducks in Game 5

Nashville takes 3-2 lead in Western Final without leading scorer Ryan Johansen, captain Mike Fisher

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / NHL.com Columnist

ANAHEIM -- This was the essence of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Nashville Predators' No. 1 center and leading scorer lay in a hospital bed recovering from emergency surgery. Their No. 2 center and captain couldn't play either. They fell behind by a goal.

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NHL Insider

Predators can rally, or fold, after losing Ryan Johansen for playoffs

Nashville at crossroads heading into Game 5 of Western Final against Ducks

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / NHL.com Columnist

Well, now the Nashville Predators have a choice.

They can bow out meekly against the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference Final. There would be no shame in it, really. They made the conference final for the first time in their history, and then they lost Ryan Johansen, their No. 1 center and leading scorer in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They might be without Mike Fisher, their No. 2 center and captain, too. Whatever happens from this point, they can call this season a success.

Or they can use their dog-on-a-bone mentality, find a way to win and make a special run even more special. The best-of-7 series isn't over. It's tied 2-2 entering Game 5 at Anaheim on Saturday (7:15 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports). The Predators are two games from making the Stanley Cup Final for the first time, and they still have goaltender Pekka Rinne; defensemen Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis, Roman Josi and P.K. Subban; and forwards Viktor Arvidsson, Filip Forsberg and James Neal.

What do you think they'll do?

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Conference Final

Ducks overcome adversity to defeat Predators in Game 4

Win in overtime after fading in third period, giving up tying goal in final minute

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / NHL.com Columnist

NASHVILLE -- The party ended 10:25 into overtime Thursday. Anaheim Ducks forward Corey Perry grabbed the puck in the right-wing corner. He held it for a heartbeat, then fired it to the front of the net. It went off the stick of Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban and slipped under the arm of goaltender Pekka Rinne.

The Ducks won 3-2 in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final. Gone was the Predators' push for a comeback victory and their 10-game winning streak at Bridgestone Arena in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Silenced was the celebration of the Nashville atmosphere and the Predators up-tempo style, at least for the moment.

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NHL Insider

Viktor Arvidsson using small frame in big spots for Predators

Diminutive forward excelling at screening goalies to create scoring chances

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / NHL.com Columnist

NASHVILLE -- As defenseman Mattias Ekholm wound up for a slap shot during the Nashville Predators' morning skate Thursday, forward Viktor Arvidsson stood just outside the crease in front of goaltender Pekka Rinne. Ekholm shot the puck right at Arvidsson, so hard Arvidsson couldn't get out of the way. The puck struck him in the midsection with a thud.

And a bunch of the Predators cheered.

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playoffs

Predators playing with 'dog-on-a-bone mentality' against Ducks

Nashville thriving in Western Conference Final by pushing pace, attacking in all three zones

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / NHL.com Columnist

NASHVILLE -- His name is Stanley. He's a blue bulldog on the wall of the Nashville Predators locker room and the sleeves of their sweatshirts, clenching a bone in his teeth with the words "SPEED" and "ATTITUDE." He's more than a mascot.

Coach Peter Laviolette called him "an image of what you'd want your team to look like and how you would want them to play."

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playoffs

Stanley Cup Playoff Postcard: Nashville

NHL.com's Nicholas J. Cotsonika follows his wife's advice, expands his culinary comfort zone

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / NHL.com Columnist

NASHVILLE -- Whenever I come to Nashville, family and friends tell me their favorite places to go and things to eat. My wife told me I had to try this dish she had while here for a conference: redneck lo mein.

"Thanks, honey!" I said.

Translation: No, thanks!

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