May 22, 2017, 4:51 PM ET [13 Comments]
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The Ducks were practically handed a gift Tuesday night. Their opponent, Nashville, was down their top two centers and the Ducks were at home. As the game unfolded, that gift turned out to be more like a $10 suit.
The first thread started to come loose before the game, when it was announced that leading goal scorer Rickard Rakell was out with an injury. Next, Preds goalie Pekka Rinne was on his game and darn near close to unbeatable from the get go. Meanwhile, Ducks number one goalie John Gibson was hurt in the first period during a collision at the net; he did not return for the second. As the game continued, it was obvious that Nashville kept gaining momentum and Anaheim replacement goalie Jonathan Bernier's inability to control rebounds caused the suit to fall apart for good.
Questions Between the Pipes
In this win or go home game, who will the Ducks turn to as their goaltender. After the loss, Gibson said he would be good to go for game six. He did take part in practice yesterday. The Ducks aren't going to say much of anything regarding his status until its close to game time. Remember, until the team took the ice in game five, Rakell was supposed to be in the lineup. Here are some questions Ducks fans are asking themselves about tonight's goalie situation:
1) How healthy is John Gibson?
2) Is Gibson at less than 100%, better than Bernier at full strength?
3) If Bernier does play tonight, which one of his three heads will show up; a) the one who is just good enough to keep the Ducks in the game; b) the guy who carried the team when Gibson was hurt toward the end of the regular season; or C) the goalie many Leafs fans saw as the Antichrist?
* Patrick Eaves is out.
* Rickard Rakell is out as well.
* 2017 first round pick, Sam Steele is traveling with the team. Its doubtful that he will play.
* If Gibson is out, Jhonas Enroth, who has also been with the team, would dress as Bernier's backup.
Ducks @ Nashville, Round 3, Game 6
There is no tomorrow if the Ducks lose tonight's game six. Anaheim must bring their “A” game to the rink or face months of disappointment wondering what could have been. They need to come out of the locker room on a mission and ramp it up from there. One thing the team has not done in this series is to take control of the game early and continue to dominate.
If people thought the atmosphere at Bridgestone Arena was hopping for games three and four, it will go to another level tonight. The Ducks need to take the seven man out of the equation quickly. Another must do, and I'm shaking my head as I write it, is to win critical faceoffs. Whatever happened in the circle at the end of game five, must stay in the past.
As for the Anaheim lineup, due to injuries, the forward unit should remain in tact. Carlyle has a decision to make on defense, he can stay with Bieksa and play physical or open the ice up with Shea Theodore.
Gibson or Bernier