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WCSF – Predators @ Canucks, Game 1 – A Presidential Challenge


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The Predators start the Western Conference Semifinals in Vancouver as they take on the Canucks in game 1 of the best of seven series.

Looking at the Canucks: Vancouver is coming into the semi-finals after a quarterfinals victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in a hard fought 7 game series that was finished in overtime by the most unlikely hero in Alex Burrows. However, the story of these Canucks isn’t more about dispatching the Blackhawks finally, but more about the near-epic collapse that happened to them. 3 games up in the best of 7 series, the Canucks were looking to sweep the Hawks straight from the first round, however Chicago had different plans, taking the next 3 games and pushing Vancouver to the brink in game 7, all the way to overtime before Burrows finished the Blackhawks off. If Vancouver expects to play the same way against Nashville, Nashville may have better success than Chicago did. However, don’t expect the Canucks to treat the Predators the same way they treated the Blackhawks.

Looking at the Predators: Nashville is coming off their very first entrance into the Western Conference Semifinals by knocking out the Ducks in 6 games. The storyline for Nashville was the inability to contain Anaheim’s powerplay as the Ducks capitalized as much as they could, giving Nashville the worst ranked penalty kill of all teams in the first round (winners AND losers). Another huge story: What happened to Pekka Rinne? The man who was deemed as the Predators savior by this blogger for the entire regular season was giving up goals like free samples at Sam’s Club on Sundays. He even gave up a CAREER (that’s right, CAREER) high 6 goals in the Game 4 loss to the Ducks in Nashville. If Nashville wants to get to the halfway point of bringing Lord Stanley’s Cup to the Music City, Pekka Rinne and the Predators penalty kill will need to step up and step up in a big way.

For the Canucks to win: GET BACK TO BUSINESS. Vancouver has to take that game 7 overtime win versus Chicago and stick it in their back pocket for the time being, they have bigger fish to fry…catfish that is. The Canucks will HAVE to play Nashville’s game if they want to take the game, let alone the series. That’s right, Vancouver will HAVE to play a defensive chess game with the Predators and then capitalize on a Nashville mistake. This is the way to beat Nashville. Anaheim couldn’t do it 5-on-5, but was able to capitalize on Predators penalties. Can the Canucks do the same?

For the Predators to win: SUPER PEKKA RINNE. Rinne HAS to steal as many games as he can against Vancouver, because that is what it will take to beat the Canucks. If Rinne makes the crazy-impossible save Predators fans know he can and if Nashville’s offense can find the back of the net of a couple times, they may get those 4 wins they need to get into the Western Conference finals

Prediction: 2-1 Vancouver in overtime. I think the lag from the first round will be more of a boost than anything else. The emotion of a game 7 overtime victory 2 days ago will push the Canucks to a game 1 victory, but expect that hangover to hit after game 1…

BEST OF SEVEN Record: 0-0

OTHER GAMES OF INTEREST:

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Thanks for reading!

~KM