Pontus Aberg's goal helps Predators top Ducks in Game 5

ANAHEIM, CA – MAY 20: Pontus Aberg #46 of the Nashville Predators reacts from the ice after scoring a goal in the third period of Game Five of the Western Conference Final during the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Honda Center on May 20, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Pontus Aberg’s goal with 8:59 left in the third period helped the Nashville Predators beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-1 in Game 5 and move a win away from advancing to their first Stanley Cup Final.

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Anaheim goaltender Jonathan Bernier, who entered the game after John Gibson suffered a lower-body injury in the first period, had a difficult time with rebound control in the 40 minutes he played. That issue helped cause Aberg’s winner after the Nashville forward pounced on a loose puck in front and tucked home his first career playoff goal.

Aberg, who left the game to be evaluated for a concussion minutes after his goal, last scored for the Predators six months ago — Nov. 17 versus Ottawa.

The Predators were trailing 1-0 late in the second period on a Chris Wagner goal when they took advantage of one of their two power play opportunities. With under a minute to go in the period and time winding down on their man advantage, P.K. Subban’s wrister from the point was knocked down in front and after a brief scramble Colin Wilson was there to backhand it by Bernier.

Once Nashville went up 2-1 they didn’t sit back and go into a shell to protect their lead. They kept playing an aggressive style, pushing the pace and trying for a third goal. As Anaheim pressed to tie the game with their net empty, Auston Watson put the game out of reach with with 47.2 seconds to go.

It was a huge, emotional win for the Predators who were already without their captain, Mike Fisher, and learned Friday that their No. 1 center, Ryan Johansen, would miss the rest of the season with a leg injury.

Now they head home to Bridgestone Arena with a 3-2 lead in the series knowing a win closes out the Ducks and makes them the first team to clinch a spot in the Cup Final.

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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