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Predators coach Peter Laviolette joins an elite group with another trip to Stanley Cup Final

Predators coach Peter Laviolette didn't seem overly impressed that in guiding his team to a six-game elimination of the Ducks in the Western Conference finals he became only the fourth coach in NHL history to lead three teams to the Stanley Cup Final.

Laviolette, who won the Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006 and led the Philadelphia Flyers to the Cup Final in 2010, joined Dick Irvin, Scotty Bowman and Mike Keenan in the small ranks of coaches who have led three teams to the Cup Final. But that didn't have great meaning for him, at least not right after the Predators' 6-3 victory at Bridgestone Arena.

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"Probably means that I got fired a lot," said Laviolette, a two-time U.S. Olympian in his playing days. "I'm fortunate to be here working and fortunate [general manager] David Poile gave me a job. And when you do that, you're not thinking about things like that, you're just thinking about coming to work.

"And I've got such a great group of guys in the locker room that I get to work with every day and the coaches get to work with every day. And that's what we've pretty much done this year, is just all of us tried to go to work and tried to get better. And we find ourselves in the position we're going to play for the Cup."

Laviolette also praised Nashville's passionate fans for turning another nontraditional hockey market into a hockey hotbed, but emphasized that he didn't want to slight fans in Carolina.

Etc.

Had the Ducks been able to extend this series to a seventh game, it's likely that right wing Patrick Eaves (foot injury) still would not have been available. Forward Rickard Rakell (lower-body, out the last two games) was closer to being ready, Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. Acquiring Eaves, an impending free agent, will cost the Ducks a first-round pick in this year's draft.

Follow Helene Elliott on Twitter @helenenothelen

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