GAME THREAD: Game 7

It has been two years since they last made the Western Conference Finals. But keeping him in check and getting to Fleury is how they can win. That's more than half of McDavid's total ice time, including special teams play, where 1-on-1 match-ups become harder to maintain (Josh Manson and Hampus Lindholm got the McDavid assignment on defense).

In this April 17, 2017, file photo, country music star Carrie Underwood performs the national anthem before Game 3 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series between the Predators and the Chicago Blackhawks, in Nashville, Tenn.

On the other side, the Ducks survived a tough series with the up and coming Edmonton Oilers, putting on a great performance in a 2-1 Game 7 win at home to finish off the series. Though they made an appearance in the Stanley Cup semifinals as recent as 2015 and won it all in 2007 - Caps fans long for that type of success - these franchises on opposite coasts were linked through their shortcomings despite rosters built to contend perennially. That dominance continued into the third when Ritchie took a feed from Sami Vatanen and scored the eventual series victor 3:21 into the final period.

Once again, Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals will have to wait another day to go to the conference finals.

"Whatever luck we may have had in Game 2 definitely wasn't there tonight", McDavid said. I'm born and raised in Ontario, maybe 300 miles north of Toronto, grew up as a Toronto Maple Leaf fan, drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs, played for them for two years, got to coach the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The offensive touch is exactly why general manager David Poile hired Laviolette three years ago. The Selke Trophy finalist's next shutdown assignment is likely to be Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson, the Predators' dynamic top line. "The things we did this year were truly incredible and we gave the fans something, that were behind for so many years, something to cheer about and the fans should be proud of themselves too, surely as the players", said Maroon. This is the third season for defenseman Mattias Ekholm, and he said he knows exactly how to react in any given situation with a confidence that flows through the rest of the team. Nobody knows exactly what the Oilers are capable of so, as these playoffs wore on, it began to seem more and more possible that they might reach - if not win - the Stanley Cup right now.

Forward Vernon Fiddler, 37, is back with the Predators after starting his National Hockey League career in Nashville in 2002-03.

Perhaps the best illustration of Edmonton's outlook can be found in the contrast between the two losing locker rooms on Wednesday. "Obviously this one is going to sting for a while". There's no gray area. "I think he's softened a little bit just based on some of the things with the rookies and stuff like that". "To have them at the same time is hard".

Despite surrendering an early fluke goal that could have sent them to the same final-game fate, they rallied to move to within eight wins of their second Stanley Cup championship. The Ducks grabbed the next three contests - two of which were in Edmonton - 6-3, 4-3 (OT), and 4-3 (2OT).

What Laviolette hates is telling someone he can't play.

Lauri Korpikoski, Columbus: Played nine games in the regular season for Columbus, but none in the playoffs. Underwood is the wife of Predators center Mike Fisher. "He'll tell it like it is".

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