Predators shoot down Ducks to reach Stanley Cup Finals

The Predators jumped out to a 2-0 lead less than nine minutes into the game. Now he has eight postseason goals, and his Wikipedia page had already been updated to characterize him as a "Canadian professional duck hunter" by game's end.

But they had goalie Jonathan Bernier making his first career playoff start after John Gibson was scratched with a hamstring injury. On James Neal's goal, Mattias Ekholm had some downright medieval net presence, taking out a number of Ducks and clearing the way for the game victor.

Two minutes after Sissons' second goal, Anaheim's Chris Wagner banked a shot in off Rinne's mask to make it 3-2. Anaheim was also without Patrick Eaves for the entire series and Rickard Rakell for the last two games; they were the only two 30-goal scorers the Ducks had.

In this game they had 41 shots on goal to Nashville's 18 and finally found a way to subvert Rinne, who was brilliant when Nashville ousted the Ducks a year ago, and again in this first period.

For all of the goals - six on 18 shots - and Sissons' hat trick, the player of the game again was goalie Pekka Rinne.

Filip Forsberg and Watson added empty net goals to seal the franchise's first trip to the Finals in their 19-year history. Not even the 2011-12 Kings, the last No. 8 seed to reach the Cup Final, were the bottom-feeders of the playoff field when they mounted their run.

After all, the city had been waiting for this moment since October 10, 1998, when the franchise played its first game and officially entered the National Hockey League.

The Anaheim players have been vocal about the need for a good start. However, the loss at Pittsburgh marked the only time Nashville has faced either the Penguins or the Senators since November, meaning the early results will likely have little bearing on the finals.

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Now the Predators get a nice rest, as the Eastern Conference Final continues with a Game 6 on Tuesday (and possibly a Game 7 on Thursday). Long-suffering veterans Pekka Rinne, Mike Fisher and Vernon Fiddler with a chance to finally hoist the Cup.

They got a few steps further than they did a year ago.

The Predators lost No. 1 center Ryan Johansen to a serious thigh injury after Game 4, and it was Sissons who stepped up to replace his offense.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, right, presents the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl to the Nashville Predators after the Predators beat the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6 of the Western Conference final in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup pla. The Anaheim captain was held to a single assist in the last four games of the series and failed to score even once throughout the conference final.

It's a really impressive feat.

The Ducks would have had a lot more shots on goal had the Predators' defense been idle.

"W$3 e scored three goals". Keep an eye on this trend, it'll be another key to success if Nashville takes the Cup. Towels, hats and catfish littered the ice as the game crawled to its conclusion and the building shook in delight as the final horn sounded.

Following the Predators 6-3 victory over the Ducks, Underwood shared video of the Bridgestone Arena crowd cheering loudly as the team was presented with the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl in recognition of their status as NHL Western Conference Champions.

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