Courtesy of ESPN
Vancouver simply overwhelmed Nashville for another game and effectively put their foot on the metaphorical throat of the Predators, taking Game 4 4-2 and now leading the series 3-1.
Powerplay – 1 for 3, 33%
Powerplay For The Series – 1 for 14, 7%
Powerplay For The Playoffs – 7 for 41, 17.1%
Penalty Kill – 2 for 3, 67%
Penalty Kill For The Series – 10 for 13, 77%
Penalty Kill For The Playoffs – 23 for 35, 65.7%
Best Play of the Game: Ryan Kesler gets yanked down by Ryan Suter in the third period leading to a penalty. Then, what Kesler does is absolute magic. He dazzles inside and through both Shea Weber and Shane O’Brien and puts one right over the low glove of Pekka Rinne, giving the Canucks a 3-2 lead at that point, which would be the game winning goal of the night
Worst Play of the Game: Nashville was granted about :47 seconds of 5-on-3 time in the second period. What did they decide to do with it? Pass around until they found Paul Kariya, who never showed up. The Predators mustered 1 shot on the 5-on-3, which could easily have been dubbed as the defining moment of the series and definitely swung momentum on the Canucks side of the table
Players (Good and Bad) of the Game:
The Good: Ryan Kesler – Well, Preds fans may not like the man one bit, but he’s having a hell of a series for the Angry Whales. Kesler finishes the night with 1g/2a and a +2 for the night, easily his best night of the entire playoffs (better than game 3). Nashville is finally seeing the Ryan Kesler who was bottled up for the entire first round
The Bad: Ryan Suter – What happened tonight with Suter? He’s usually a very reliable defenseman and doesn’t hesitate to try and get a puck down low to try to get it near the net. However Suter seemed to be getting caught at the wrong place at the wrong time a lot tonight, was passing up open lanes to shoot the puck towards Luongo, and took one of the worst penalties I have ever seen him take. It was just a rough, frustrating night for the all-American defenseman
My Preds #1 Star: Cody Franson – Thank you for electing to shoot it on net tonight, it definitely showed. 1g/1a/+1. Franson was easily the best player for the Predators
Synopsis: The season is on the brink.
Nashville has been there before, 6 different times. And in those games? 6 straight losses.
Is there anything different this year? A case can be made for both ends of the spectrum.
Yes, this team is different. They have an identity, they’ve been known to crawl out of the dust to miraculously claim victory out of the clutches of defeat. They have an all-WORLD goaltender in Pekka Rinne, the top defensive pairing in the ENTIRE game of hockey, world-wide (find me a better defensive pairing, I dare you), and play hockey in what can only be called “The Predator Way”, something that is EARNED in Nashville, not just given out.
No, this team is who we thought it was. They are happy to get out of the first round, but are laying down on the ground like an abused animal who is hoping to no longer get beaten. They can’t muster any continual attacks in the offensive zone. They are blindly turning over the puck in places where they shouldn’t. Most importantly, they are turning back into the pass-first, shoot-tomorrow team that all of us grew to hate earlier in the season (and also led us through our worst losing streaks as well).
So, what will we see Saturday night is the real question?
In 6 elimination games, Nashville is 0-6…however this season is a season full of firsts for a lot of NHL teams, including the Predators.
Will history change? Or is it time to extinguish the proverbial flame for this season and start to build on the next one?
It’s tough to say, but I can guarantee one thing. Nashville will give it their all Saturday night…but will it be enough?
Next game is Saturday night at 8:00pm CST in Vancouver on Versus
My Prediction for Game 1: 4-1 Canucks (Regulation)
Real Outcome: 4-2 Canucks (Regulation)
Series Record: 3-1, Vancouver leads
Thanks for reading!