NHL.com: First Look - Vancouver vs. Nashville

Wednesday, 04.27.2011 / 2:21 AM CT / Nashville Predators Playoffs Coverage
NHL.com
X
Share with your Friends


NHL.com: First Look - Vancouver vs. Nashville
false
(1) Vancouver Canucks vs. (5) Nashville Predators

Seeds: No. 5 vs. No. 1: Predators beat Anaheim in six games; Canucks beat Chicago in seven

Having finally beaten the team that nearly made them the third consecutive Presidents’ Trophy winner to lose in the first round, the Vancouver Canucks will have to regroup quickly to avoid a second-round loss to Nashville. The Predators are in the Western Conference Semifinals for the first time after beating Anaheim in six games for the first series victory in franchise history.

Right here, right now: The teams divided the four-game season series, with each winning once at home and once on the road. The last meeting came on March 29, when Vancouver went into Nashville and left with a 3-1 victory to complete a perfect road trip. Vancouver is 15-8-1-1 all-time against the Predators at home and 14-10-1-0 in Nashville. The teams have never met in the playoffs.

Coulda Woulda: Nashville closed out Anaheim in the first round on Sunday for their first series victory in franchise history, then had to wait to see who it would play in the second round. Vancouver looked like it would breeze through the opening round against Chicago, winning the first three games – but lost the next three and had to go to overtime in Game 7 on Tuesday night to beat the Blackhawks 2-1 on a goal by Alexandre Burrows.
 
How important to win first game: The Predators will head for the Pacific Northwest with the hope of getting the jump on a Vancouver team still enjoying its Game 7 victory against Chicago – a win that helped atone for playoff losses in each of the last two years. Nashville had its own celebration on Sunday after ending its 0-5 playoff drought, but has had a few days to get the euphoria out of its system.

The Great Unknown: Both teams have elite goaltenders coming off series victories in which they didn’t always play well. Nashville’s Pekka Rinne had a 3.29 goals-against average against Anaheim, more than a goal a game higher than his regular-season GAA. Roberto Luongo was one of the heroes of Vancouver’s Game 7 win against Chicago, but he was yanked in Games 4 and 5, then was benched in Game 6 only to take the loss after replacing injured starter Cory Schneider in the third period.

Finish line: Both teams are coming into the series off emotional victories. Nashville is in the second round for the first time; Vancouver finally got past Chicago, the team that ended its season in each of the last two seasons and nearly did it again. The Canucks were the NHL’s best team in the regular season, and what often happens to superior teams that avoid getting tripped up in the first round is that their talent begins to dominate. If both teams play to their talent level, the Canucks have the edge because they have more talent.

SCHEDULE
 

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 26 37 15 63
M. Ribeiro 82 15 47 11 62
R. Josi 81 15 40 15 55
S. Weber 78 15 30 15 45
C. Smith 82 23 21 11 44
C. Wilson 77 20 22 19 42
M. Fisher 59 19 20 4 39
J. Neal 67 23 14 12 37
R. Ellis 58 9 18 8 27
S. Jones 82 8 19 3 27
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 41 17 6 .923 2.18
C. Hutton 6 7 4 .902 2.61