PREDATORS CLINCH FIRST-EVER BERTH IN STANLEY CUP FINAL
The Ducks erased a 3-1 deficit in the third period, but Colton Sissons scored the go-ahead goal and completed his hat trick with 6:00 remaining in regulation to lift the Predators to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history. Nashville, which began play in 1998-99 and is competing in the postseason for the 10th time, had recorded three series wins prior to the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs (3-9).
The Predators, who ranked 16th in NHL’s regular-season standings and qualified for the postseason as the second Wild Card team in the Western Conference (41-29-12, 94 points), became the third club seeded lowest in its conference to advance to the Stanley Cup Final since the League adopted the conference-based playoff format in 1994. The others: the 2006 Oilers (4-3 L vs. CAR) and 2012 Kings (4-2 W vs. NJD).
At least one team outside the top 10 in the NHL’s regular-season standings now has reached the Stanley Cup Final in eight of the past 15 seasons. The others: the 2002 Hurricanes (16th), 2004 Flames (12th), 2006 Oilers (14th), 2010 Flyers (18th), 2012 Kings (13th), 2014 Rangers (12th) and 2016 Sharks (11th).
Sissons, who has one hat trick in his regular-season career (109 GP), recorded the second three-goal game in Predators playoff history – following Filip Forsberg’s hat trick in Game 5 of the 2015 First Round vs. CHI. Elias notes that Sissons became the first player to score a hat trick in a series-clinching win in the Conference Finals since Chicago’s Patrick Kane in 2013 (vs. LAK). Sissons, who had 8-2—10 in the regular season (58 GP), now has matched that point total during the playoffs (5-5—10 in 16 GP). He did not register a point in any of his 10 career postseason appearances prior to 2017.
The Predators next will face the winner of the Eastern Conference Final between the Penguins and Senators. Only one player on Nashville’s roster has previously appeared in a Stanley Cup Final game: Mike Fisher, who collected 2-2—4 with Ottawa in 2007 vs. ANA (5 GP).
The Predators improved to 3-0 in three all-time playoff series vs. ANA (also 2011 CQF: 4-2 W and 2016 FR: 4-3 W) . . . Renowned Canadian artist Tony Harris unveiled portraits of Jacques Lemaire and Gilbert Perreault as part of the NHL Centennial Celebration . . . Country music star Trisha Yearwood sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” and former Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George rallied the crowd prior to Game 6 at Bridgestone Arena . . . Thousands of fans watched Nashville’s series-clinching win outside the arena.
* Information provided via NHL Press Release