Stanley Cup playoffs three stars: Predators reach first west finals, Oilers force game seven

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The Nashville Predators advanced to their first NHL Western Conference final as the Edmonton Oilers forced a game seven.

Sunday's 3-1 win over the St Louis Blues saw the Predators to a 4-2 series victory in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup playoffs matchup.

Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne played a key role in his 566th NHL game.

The 34-year-old made 23 saves and assisted on Calle Jarnkrok's empty-net goal that sealed game six, the netminder's third point of the playoffs.

Roman Josi, Ryan Johansen and Jarnkrok scored for the Predators, who will face either the Anaheim Ducks or Edmonton Oilers in the Conference final.

The Oilers ensured their series with the Ducks will go down to the wire after romping to a 7-1 victory.

Leon Draisaitl starred, while he was supported by Mark Letestu, Zack Kassian and Anton Slepyshev in Edmonton.

The seventh and deciding game is in Anaheim on Wednesday.

 

Three stars

Cam Talbot, Oilers - Talbot's 31-save effort understandably gets lost in the Oilers' offensive onslaught, but that should not take anything away from him. Minus his top two defencemen with Oscar Klefbom and Andrej Sekera out of the line-up, Talbot bounced back after choking away a three-goal lead in 3:16 during game five.

Ryan Johansen, Predators - Johansen became the ninth different Preds player to notch a game-winning goal this postseason. It was his first goal of the series and first point since game one. How opportune.

Leon Draisaitl, Oilers - A bona fide Duck killer, Draisaitl completed his first playoff hat-trick before the end of the second period for his fifth point of the evening. The 21-year-old now has 11 goals in his last 12 games against Anaheim -- six in the regular season, five in the playoffs. He is the youngest player in franchise history not named Wayne Gretzky with a hat-trick in the playoffs.

 

Highlight

Johansen went full highlight reel on his partial breakaway that put the Predators ahead for good. Bonus points to Viktor Arvidsson for the pass.

 

Monday's game to watch

Game 6: Penguins at Capitals - After a pitiful performance in game four, the Capitals' biggest stars rose to the occasion to force a sixth round in this rivalry. The Capitals hold the edge in shot attempts by a whopping 306-180 margin, but the Penguins have blocked 124. It is a risky strategy that has been paying off and only needs to work once more.