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Shorthanded Nashville Predators pounce on Anaheim Ducks, take 3-2 series lead

By
Dennis Bernstein, The Sports Xchange
Nashville Predators' Colin Wilson (30), Filip Forsberg (9) and Viktor Arvidsson (38) celebrate. The Predators took a 3-2 series lead after beating the Anaheim Ducks Saturday night. File photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
Nashville Predators' Colin Wilson (30), Filip Forsberg (9) and Viktor Arvidsson (38) celebrate. The Predators took a 3-2 series lead after beating the Anaheim Ducks Saturday night. File photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Pontus Aberg's first career playoff goal was the decisive score as the Nashville Predators defeated the Anaheim Ducks 3-1 in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals on Saturday.

The Predators lead the series 3-2, with Game 6 scheduled for Monday night in Nashville. The Predators will have an opportunity to clinch their first Stanley Cup finals berth in franchise history.

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Colin Wilson and Austin Watson scored the other Nashville goals, and Pekka Rinne stopped 32 of 33 Anaheim shots.

The Ducks' goal was scored by Chris Wagner. Anaheim starting goaltender John Gibson left the game after the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return. Jonathan Bernier took the loss while stopping 16 of 18 shots.

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Gibson stopped all 10 shots he faced.

Watson's empty-net goal at 19:12 of the third period completed the scoring.

The Predators took a 2-1 lead on Aberg's goal at 11:01 of the third period. Aberg wristed the rebound of a Filip Forsberg shot while falling to the ice for the score with Mattias Ekholm drawing the secondary assist.

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Nashville had tied the score at 1 on Wilson's power-play goal, his second goal of the playoffs, at 19:19 of the second period. Wilson converted a backhand shot of an initial shot from P.K. Subban from the right point.

Colton Sissons had the primary assist after he battled Anaheim defenseman Cam Fowler to give Wilson time and space to beat Bernier at the left post.

Anaheim took a 1-0 lead on Wagner's second goal of the playoffs at 12:46 of the second period. Brandon Montour penetrated into the deep slot for a wrist shot that Rinne could not control. Wagner followed the play to the net to convert the rebound.

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NOTES: Nashville scratched C Ryan Johansen, C Mike Fisher, D Anthony Bittetto, RW P.A. Parenteau, C Craig Smith, D Brad Hunt, LW Harry Zolnierczyk, G Marek Mazanec and LW Vladislav Kamenev. Johansen sustained a season-ending thigh injury in Game 4 that required surgery with an expected recovery time of two to three months. Fisher left Game 4 in the third period with an undisclosed injury. ... Anaheim did not dress C Rickard Rakell (lower body), D Korbinian Holzer, RW Patrick Eaves, C Logan Shaw, D Shea Theodore, C Sam Carrick and G Jhonas Enroth. Rakell was a late scratch, with LW Nicolas Kerdiles replacing him.

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