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WCSF – Canucks @ Predators, Game 4 – Could be the deciding factor?


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The Predators continue the Western Conference Semifinals in Nashville as they take on the Canucks in game 4 of the best of seven series.

Looking at the Canucks: Many people look at the Canucks as ONE bad goal away from being up 3-0 in the series, but I look at the Canucks as something different. Sure, Vancouver is a hell of a team. Sure, they have the top powerplay and penalty kill in the league. Sure, they are THE team to beat in the entire league if you want a chance at the cup. But you know what? They’re beatable.

Vancouver came out a little flat in the first 10 minutes of Game 3 and gave up a shorthanded goal. They dominated the second and started to trail off in the third, giving up the tying goal and letting the Predators run wild for the remainder of the third and for the majority of the first overtime, before they received a powerplay and did what they do best: convert.

If the Canucks don’t want to make this series as close as it is they have to play even BETTER than they already area. I still don’t think we’ve seen the best of Vancouver yet

Looking at the Predators: Nashville has to learn that playing 40 minutes in a game, IN the playoffs, WILL NOT WIN GAMES. The Predators played a great 1st period, a heinous 2nd period, an ok third period, and a pretty dominant overtime. However, ALL of these periods, no matter how many they play, have to be “dominant” performances, or else Nashville will be singing a little “The Dream Is Over” here in about 3 days.

The Predators HAVE to get to work on the powerplay and let me give a little advice: focus on shooting, not on passing. Since the days after Paul Kariya, Nashville has been trying to find that “perfect” pass on the powerplay, which is the cause of MOST of the woes there. Why? Why try to find the PERFECT pass, it’s there usually once every 10-15 powerplays, hence the awful conversion percentage. Look at the Anaheim series, how did the Preds convert? They got it back to the point, clogged the crease, and let loose Shea Weber’s cannon. What’s wrong with that strategy? If you asked me, it was working fine. Why try and unleash the regular season powerplay on opponents when the quarterfinal post-season powerplay was doing the job

The penalty kill is going to have to find it’s way as well. Such a back bone to this team, they’re going to have still kill penalties. Granted, there wasn’t much the boys could do on the 1st Vancouver goal Tuesday night as Rinne overplayed it just a bit, but the overtime powerplay is a textbook example of knowing “how” to kill off a penalty, which the Predators failed that test miserably and it cost them the game. Yes, one of your best penalty killers is in the box, but you have to learn to compensate. Just sitting back in your diamond-formation and not pressing the puck, allowing the Canucks (mind you, the BEST POWERPLAY TEAM IN THE LEAGUE) to just set up and pass away? Yeah, that will NEVER work. They’ll score EVERY time.

Nashville HAS to learn from its mistakes and do so quickly.

For the Canucks to win: DON’T GIVE THE REFS A REASON TO BLOW THE WHISTLE. If the Canucks have any sense at all, they can expect some weak Mary Kay calls from the officials in response to some of the…”questionable” calls/no-calls that happened Tuesday night. If Vancouver can stay out of the box, because eventually Nashville HAS to cash in sooner or later, and if Luongo has a Rinne-esque night, it could spell serious trouble for the fanged faithful in Nashville.

For the Predators to win: DON’T QUIT ON US YET. After such an amazing first period with such great chances and coming out with a 1-0 lead, Nashville came out in the second period and WAS….flat. THEY, not Vancouver, sucked the life RIGHT out of the crowd and made a lot of the fans see why the Canucks were the #1 seed as they trampled the Predators up and down the ice like an elephant after a mouse. Nashville did well last series coming out after losses to the Ducks, winning games 3 and 5 after losing big in games 2 and 4. Expect Nashville to come out with the intention of washing the bad taste of game 3 right out of their mouths.

Prediction: 4-1 Vancouver. As I like to stick with my pre-series predictions, I’ll stick with this one. I was wrong Tuesday night. I said Nashville would win 3-2 in overtime. WOOPS, Vancouver won 3-2 in overtime. I’m saying Vancouver will win 4-1 in Game 4…maybe it’ll reverse itself as well? Who knows…

BEST OF SEVEN Record: 2-1, Vancouver leads

OTHER GAMES OF INTEREST:

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Thanks for reading!

~KM