What To Watch For: Will Ducks continue to crash Oilers’ crease?

Watch as Corey Perry beats Cam Talbot to help the Anaheim Ducks shock the Edmonton Oilers in overtime and take Game 5.

Both the Anaheim Ducks and Nashville Predators have the opportunity to move on, while the Edmonton Oilers and St. Louis Blues aim to stave off elimination.

Here’s what to watch for during Sunday’s Stanley Cup Playoffs action:

Game 6 | 3 p.m. ET, Sportsnet | NSH leads series 3-2

The Predators get a second crack at ending the Blues’ season after failing to do so on the road in Game 5 on Friday night. The Preds have been to the second round four times but have never advanced to the Western Conference Final, so a bit of franchise history is on the line for Peter Laviolette’s group. The fact they’re 6-0 at home so far throughout the playoffs bodes well for them.

Can the Nashville defence continue to thrive?

Predators win series (4-2)
St. Louis
Pekka Rinne is playing some of the best hockey of his career this post-season, but perhaps the biggest reason for this team’s success is the blue line. Nashville’s defensive corps—led by Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, P.K. Subban and Mattias Ekholm—has been nothing short of impressive.

Subban and Ekholm in particular have done an admirable job shutting down Vladimir Tarasenko, limiting the Russian sniper to just two points through five games. Nashville’s blueliners have combined for 24 points through nine post-season contests.

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Game 6 | 7 p.m. ET, Sportsnet | ANA leads 3-2

Were it not for all the controversial goals, Ryan Getzlaf’s brilliance would be the story. The Ducks captain already has 10 points in this series, including the primary assists on both of Anaheim’s overtime goals. He’s also a great leader and excellent in the faceoff circle. The Oilers need to lay the body on him every opportunity they get and somehow slow him down because he has been a one-man wrecking crew.

Will there be more crease crashing?

Milan Lucic went on a post-game rant after his team went down 3-2 in the series and summed up how most Oilers fans feel.

Ducks win series (4-3)
“I don’t even know what goalie interference is any more to be perfectly honest,” he said. “It’s an absolute joke that two especially good referees can’t make the right call…“[In Game 4] it goes in blocker side and they bump his blocker. [In Game 5] they wrap his arm around his leg and it’s still a goal. So I have no idea anymore what goaltender interference is…If someone knows please call me and tell me because it’s a shame that we are where we are right now with a call like that.”

Talbot is trying to stay calm and not make excuses but he clearly has trouble doing his job when Ducks players make contact with him when he’s in his crease.

“I tried to get up but I didn’t really have my one leg under me,” Talbot said regarding the tying goal Friday. “I couldn’t really get it off the ice. I couldn’t really bring it back underneath me. There’s no way I could do that.

If the Ducks continue to get in Talbot’s grill, will the officials start calling them on it? Or, will the Oilers have to merely fight through it?

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