Recovering From The Trip To Vancouver
Monday, 05.02.2011 / 4:27 PM
So the Preds split the first two games against the Canucks in Vancouver and head home for Game Three on Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena. Oddly enough, the two teams have scored exactly two goals each in the first couple of games.
While some are awaiting the Canucks to break out and explode against the Predators in the post-season (and for that reason alone don’t seem to think Nashville will be able to emerge victorious) I would like to simply point to the “it doesn’t matter anymore” regular season record between the two clubs. They split the series 2-2, with each team winning once on the road. Pekka Rinne’s goals against average? 1.26. How about Roberto Luongo’s? 1.77. There was exactly one power play goal in the series (Vancouver’s) in a combined 30 chances.
The point is while both teams would obviously like to score more, Nashville has seen this from the Canucks before and found ways to win. I think the pressure can only mount on Vancouver, a team known for scoring in the regular season. Look at it this way: if name guys like the Sedin twins and Ryan Kesler continue to not put up points, that’s exactly where the media focus goes. Nashville scores once or twice a game? Great! Who was it this time? There’s no one player to point fingers at and say “you’re not producing”… at least on a national stage. Barry Trotz may have his thoughts on the matter, but he’s been involved with it all season. Through the long lens of national media, there’s not a single player on this team who would bear that weight. Vancouver has several.
How anyone can expect this to be a high-scoring series is beyond me. Not to say there might not be a breakout game here or there. But everything points to a continuation of what we’ve seen so far. And that should suit the Preds just fine. Let the pressure build, let the Canucks feel the weight of “not scoring”, otherwise known as playoff hockey. It amazes me in the haste to crown the Canucks kings of the west that some of these obvious things get overlooked. But then again, I have a slightly different perspective – and I don’t mind the way things look right now.
PS – The goaltenders will continue to stand on their respective heads. These guys weren’t voted two of the three best from the regular season for no reason. Cherish this entire series, you may not see one with as much clutch puckstopping going head-to-head for a very long time.