And Round 2 Is Under Way

Thursday, 04.28.2011 / 6:18 PM
By Tom Callahan - Nashville Predators / Tom Callahan's Playoff Blog

Tonight the waiting stops and the pucks drops. Game One of the Western Conference Semifinal series between the Preds and Vancouver Canucks kicks off in B.C.

Heading into this game the Predators are fresh off its first ever playoff series win over the Anaheim Ducks in six games, while the Canucks needed seven after blowing a 3-0 series lead against the Chicago Blackhawks. Storylines seem obvious enough between two Vezina-nominated goaltenders, the Art Ross (league scoring) champion in Daniel Sedin and last year’s Art Ross winner and twin brother Henrik on the same line, Vancouver’s depth and defense, and Nashville’s plucky determination and unheralded cast of superstars in their own right.

I think goaltending will be a legitimate storyline in this series, but more like NASCAR where you’re waiting for the wreck. Will Luongo keep it together? Will one bad game shake his confidence, the team’s confidence, or head coach Alain Vigneault’s confidence? Can the Canucks endure another bad performance without really facing a mental block after the way the ‘Hawks came back in the first round? And on Nashville’s side, will Pekka Rinne’s continued improvement throughout the opening round continue to manifest itself, or will the mental clock re-set itself somewhat? Those are the reasons I think the crease is compelling this series.

That's a little counter to the regular season series between the two teams. The season series was a low-scoring affair. Pekka Rinne posted a 1.26 GAA against the Canucks in four games this year yet went 2-2. I’m not  predicting the same for this post-season. In the first round, both teams showed they can score goals in bunches and allow goals in bunches at times, so, much like the Anaheim series, I think four goals will be the magic number to win games in this series.

Nashville will need its depth lines to continue to produce and be effective in whatever matchup they are handed. Vancouver is a deeper team than Anaheim and so the difference won’t be quite as striking for forwards 7-12 as it was last series. That also serves as an indication of how important the defense will be on both sides of the coin. If the blueline can chip in with some points for Nashville, it could be the tipping point in the series.

One more thing to watch will be Shane O’Brien and Dan Hamhuis. Both have their motivation amped up even more playing former teammates. Each wants to make a difference and help his team advance. I don’t know that the series will swing on any single player on either side, but they could at some point factor in during key plays in the series.

There are still several hours before faceoff, and all I want to do is get to the rink! Until next time, keep your stick on the ice.

In order to view this page you need JavaScript and Flash Player 9+ support!

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
S. Weber 79 23 33 -2 56
P. Hornqvist 76 22 31 1 53
C. Smith 79 24 28 16 52
M. Fisher 75 20 29 -4 49
R. Josi 72 13 27 -2 40
M. Cullen 77 10 29 4 39
C. Wilson 81 11 22 -1 33
N. Spaling 71 13 19 2 32
R. Ellis 80 6 21 9 27
G. Bourque 74 9 17 -5 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Hutton 20 11 4 .910 2.62
D. Dubnyk 11 18 3 .891 3.43

 
 

nashvillepredators.com is the official Web site of the Nashville Predators and nashvillepredators.com are trademarks of the Nashville Predators.  NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2013 Nashville Predators and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

NHL Ticket Exchange | Bridgestone Arena | Contact Us | Employment | NHL.com Terms of Use | Site Map | AdChoices