The Predators continue the Western Conference Semifinals in Nashville as they take on the Canucks in game 6 of the best of seven series.
Looking at the Canucks: The big talk in Vancouver? “Here we go again,” which is an actual quote taken from a newspaper in Vancouver. The Canucks gave up a series-high 4 goals to Nashville in game five to drop to 1-4 in games that they have a chance to eliminate an opponent. However, this series is a bit different than the Chicago series.
Vancouver is getting timely goaltending from Roberto Luongo and all-star play from Ryan Kesler, but the most shocking development this series is how the Sedin twins are being bottled up. Granted, they are going up against Suter and Weber, however the dynamic duo are arguably the two best players in the league that play on the same line together. With them NOT being able to break out against the Predators doesn’t instill a lot of confidence on the ability for them to play well in future rounds.
If the Sedin twins are finally able to break through in either tonight’s game 6 or a POSSIBLE game 7 on Wednesday, it could change the dynamic aspect of the 2011 playoffs for the Vancouver Canucks. Nashville seems to be able to overcome the outbreak of Ryan Kesler and are trying to stave off the rest of the Canucks crew, however the Sedins are the X-Factor at this point in time. If they can figure out what is going wrong, then God help any opponent of the Canucks.
Looking at the Predators: It’s been a season of firsts for the Nashville Predators. First, their first game 5 win, which was also their first overtime win. Then, their first post season win. Next, their first game 2 win and their first game 3 loss at home. Finally, their first win when facing elimination. However, will it be their last this postseason?
Nashville yet again faces elimination when they come back home for game 6 in front of ANOTHER raucous Bridgetstone Arena crowd. The Predators are looking to win their first game on home ice in the semi-finals after dropping close games in game 3 in overtime and game 4 in regulation.
The Predators are getting help from an unlikely source in Joel Ward. Ward, who is tied for the playoff league lead in goals with 7, pocketed 2 in Nashville’s game 5 win in Vancouver and seems to be the one Predator able to find the back of the net besides David Legwand. However, for Nashville to keep their playoff dreams alive, the floodgates have to open for Kostitsyn/Hornqvist/Fisher.
Fisher FINALLY got on the stat-sheet with an assist on Ward’s first goal on game 5, however Hornqvist/Kostitsyn still haven’t broken through. Will tonight be the night they get through?
For the Canucks to win: FINISH THEM. The Canucks are now 1-4 in elimination games this post season, allowing Chicago to win games 4, 5, and 6, before FINALLY beating them in 7 last series. Now, the Predators have staved off elimination by winning game 5. Vancouver just needs to finish the job, that’s it. They have the talent, they have everything running for them, they just need to do it. If they can’t finish the Predators off tonight, they may have some serious trouble come Wednesday.
For the Predators to win: FEED OFF THE CROWD AND PLAY 60 MINUTES. The Predators played a 50 minute game on Saturday night, having brief lapses in the first period before absolutely dominating the second and third periods against the Canucks. If Nashville can have a repeat performance but not with the mistakes mad on Saturday, they should be able to force a game 7.
Prediction: 4-2 Nashville. The Predators will find a way to get the job done tonight and force that elusive game 7 on Wednesday night. I’m not sure who it will be, but expect a player who hasn’t done much this series to get on the board tonight
BEST OF SEVEN Record: 3-2, Vancouver leads
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