The Vancouver Canucks get less respect as the President’s Trophy winner than any in recent memory not named the San Jose Sharks. To go with being the best team all year, the Vancouver Canucks had some pretty special “special teams” results. After finishing #1 on the power play this year, and #3 on the penalty kill this year, the Canucks are 2nd to the Lightning on the kill for teams still playing.
They would be a big part of this game. As would the power play.
You knew that with the Trotz comments on officiating had made the officiating a focus once again. In this one, I’ll try to keep the back seat reffing out of it, but they had an up and down night. Though, both teams being piqued, maybe they got it exactly right!
Its pretty apparent that there is more talent on the Canucks compared to the Predators. The Nashville team might be the hardest working in the league, but the overall talent, and especially the top end guys, are going to win out over a series, you would think. The Sedins have been critiqued to the Nth degree, and maybe will have their critics after this one. You would think those that remain on the negative side of the fence are just being mean though.
Consider that the Canucks carried the play in the first, and outshot the Preds 11 to 6. Now remember that without Spaling with two blocks, and Suter with another when the net was empty behind them prevented 3 goals.
The hard work of Alex Burrows is all over the first goal of the game. He did not get a point on it, but watch his play on the goal here…
..Rinne complained of the contact, but not only was it minimal, Burrows was 3 feet from the blue ice. The Sedins hunted the puck pretty well on the play as well.
The one call that is automatically a penalty in the NHL is the clearing of the puck over the glass. Salo would be guilty of that under pressure from Fisher, and the Predators had a late power play in a period they were being out played. The penalty kill, for all their solid play in this series, and on this night. Watch both defense men pressure the point and forget about Ward.
Now, in their biggest second period in club history, with the country music royalty like Keith Urban and his Hollywood wife (seen here chatting with the Green Men )
…the Predators got outshot 10 to 7. Not bad right? Well, in a period where they had a 5 on 3 power play for :47 and only 1 shot to show for it, and an almost 10 minute period where they got nothing to the net at all. Not enough.
The next goal involved a little luck for the Canucks. After some pressure that went through the whole shift, Ryan Kesler attempted to tip a puck on net. It missed, and probably broke his stick at that point. But it was not “broken”, until the next touch of the puck. All he did was slow a puck that Edler pumped past Rinne through about a 4 man screen, and he had an assist! When he should have been playing without a stick!
In the third, it was the Predators that got a bit of a break. It was a good play, and Cody Franson has a good shot, but it beat Luongo five hole, and was one that he probably wanted back.
…took the refs a minute to find it there huh?
The Canucks had given up a third period lead for the fifth time in their last six games. People bring that stat up, but it is the fourth game they have won when that happened. They pushed the play once again. But it would be burgeoning superstar Ryan Kesler that would turn the game. On another strong shift, Suter, after being on for three straight icing plays by the Preds, must have been tired battling Kesler in front. He used both arms around the shoulders and neck to throw him down, and then had the audacity to complain about the call. Um, Ryan, kind of hard to embellish that.
Watch the execution on this goal. The Canucks had some pressure earlier in the power play, but the way that Henrik hits Kesler in full stride is amazing. As is the pure beating he lays down on O’Brien and Weber before ripping it home. Wow.
The Predators tried to get back in, but of the twelve shots attempted, seven were blocked and five saved.
They pressed forward too, with a big save from Rinne on Daniel on a two on one keeping it a one goal game. The game did not get put away until the last thirty seconds, but they played a solid game late keeping most plays to the outside, and getting in the way of shots.
Watch the execution on this empty net goal as well. The way Burrows outplays the Norris nominee Weber ( and its been a bit of a turning point in the series. Burrows being on that line has made it harder for Weber to focus just on the Sedins ) on this goal is wonderful. That’s a set play, and they executed it perfectly.
So, the Canucks show some killer instinct, courtesy of Kesler. The Sedins have a pretty good game. Luongo overcomes one that might have shaken his focus and buckles down. Burrows has a game, and was a beast on special teams, helping kill a five on three. A bunch of other guys came with the same intensity. There were no “passengers” tonight.
Hopefully its the last time they come back to Nashville, with a chance to close out this series at home on Saturday.