The Nashville Predators had never advanced beyond the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs before they knocked off Anaheim in Game 6 yesterday.

And rookie forward Nick Spaling was front and center among the stars in the historic victory.

Spaling scored twice as Nashville downed Anaheim, 4-2, to clinch the Western Conference quarterfinal series with the Ducks by the same score. For his efforts, Nick Spaling is the Star of the Night.

Spaling scored the game-winning goal 4:53 into the third period. But he didn’t limit his contributions to the Preds’ win to goals. As The Tennessean explains:

Spaling’s two goals were the unquestioned highlights of his day, but he also performed well in other areas. He had 17:32 of ice time, three shots, two hits and won seven of 10 faceoffs.

This postseason, especially, has been an opportunity for unsung heroes to emerge in almost every series. Yesterday was Spaling’s turn.

Honorable mention: Thomas Vanek (2 goals) and Tyler Myers (3 assists) of Buffalo; Daniel Briere (2 goals), Brian Boucher (24-of-25 saves, win in relief) and Ville Leino (GWG OT) of Philadelphia; Dave Bolland (1-1-2) and Ben Smith (GWG OT) of Chicago.

Yesterday’s scores
Philadelphia 5, Buffalo 4 (OT)
Nashville 4, Anaheim 2
Chicago 4, Vancouver 3 (OT)

Today’s games
Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay, 7
San Jose at Los Angeles, 10