Nashville fans can breathe a thankful sigh after seeing Pontus Aberg land face-first on a shift well before his diving goal in Game 5. He was ushered off of the bench by officials only after he had been allowed to score the eventual game winner, fearful that the previous impact may have caused a concussion. Although no official word has come, Aberg seems to be fine and obviously in good spirits. “I…lost my tooth, but it didn’t hurt my head.” Obviously, execution of concussion protocol is still less than ideal, but in this one instance Nashville fans aren’t complaining.
Aberg has been an unsung hero for these Predators, this being his first goal of these playoffs. The 23 year-old winger has played the bulk of the past three seasons with the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals, but with the injury bug biting the team, he has taken a spot which he hasn’t relinquished. Especially in light of the injuries to Ryan Johansen and Mike Fisher, the need for a role player to provide some offense was necessary.
- NBC Sports has surmised from the post-game interview of Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle that goaltender John Gibson is hopeful to recover to start Game 6. Jonathan Bernier needed to fill in as relief in last night’s Game 5 loss due to an unknown lower-body injury and conceded two goals. Going into an elimination game with your backup goaltender is not the ideal scenario, especially considering how solid Gibson has been. Boudreau did caution that Gibson would need to be evaluated again by medical officials before being given leave to play. Notably, Rickard Rakell was also referred to as day-to-day. Rakell has been one of the Ducks’ most creative offensive players, and would be a welcome return to a team that has struggled at times against red-hot goaltender Pekka Rinne.
- Ryan Johansen was actually in far worse shape than previously believed. Disclosed by Jon Morosi, the young Predator appears to have suffered Acute Compartment Syndrome, which prevents oxygen from getting to muscles. Built-up pressure and the side effects from reduced blood flow can actually result in loss of limbs or death if left untreated. Johansen had to undergo thigh surgery on Friday and therefore was ruled out for the remainder of the playoffs. Thankfully his doctors caught the issue and rectified it quickly, as Johansen is expected to make a full recovery.
Revision: The article had cited Bruce Boudreau instead of Randy Carlyle.