If the Canucks can get Rinne to flop and slide (see above) they might score more than 1 goal.
(Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
Game Day Recon: Western Conference Semifinal Game 2 – Predators @ Canucks
The Vancouver Canucks slugged out a win in Game 1. It was boring, it was uneventful, it was a battle of two Vezina nominees. It was ugly but it was a win. And in the playoffs, it doesn’t matter how you win. It just matters THAT you win.
So what do they do to make it more convincing?
Game Time: 6:00 PM PT
If you watched the game on Thursday, first of all BRAVO for staying awake. But you also know that the Canucks certainly dominated that first game, even though it didn’t show on the score sheet. That was almost entirely due to Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne, who stifled the Canucks at every turn. Sure, he looked terrific. But let’s be clear – the Canucks did not make him work for his saves. Rinne flashed his glove more than a pervert opening his trenchcoat in a schoolyard, and the Canucks did nothing to change their game plan. Pucks just hit his Predators logo and stayed there. The Canucks did break through when the got Rinne moving and kept it away from his glove-shaped puck vortex.
And they have to do that more if they expect to win in Game 2. Plus they have to figure that the Predators are going to be a whole lot better than they were in the opening game. The Preds were asleep for most of that game. If not for Rinne, the score could have been out of hand for the Canucks. Luongo will be busier, as will the defense so it’s important for the Canucks to play smart and calm today in their end, make high-percentage passes into and through the neutral zone, and put the pressure back on the Predators D.
For the Canucks forwards, they were fantastic against the Predators skaters, but they gave Rinne some pretty easy looks and shot everything at their his glove or crest. They have to be more creative on Rinne, get him moving east-west and keep it away from his glove. Mikael Samuelsson HAS to come out of the lineup. He just does. He’s obviously hurt and is playing at about 30% of his potential. He’s not shooting or skating or hitting, and he’s become a detriment on the Sedins’ line. AV needs to get Burrows back up with the Sedins, and bring in either Hodgson or Tambellini to that line. I’m hesitant to do anything to that 3rd line, since they’re playing so well, but they might promote Higgins to the 2nd line, and slot Hodgson in on the 3rd. Either way, Samuelsson has to get out of there, especially since the Canucks are definitely going to need more offensive threats out there and he’s clearly not capable right now.
The Three Keys
Here are the three keys for the Vancouver Canucks tonight:
1. Get in front of Rinne, and get him moving side-to-side. The Canucks took way too many shots from far away on Thursday. They have to get closer, get in his yard, and get him moving east-west with cross-crease passes. Basically they have to close in on Pekka Rinne. And for Christ’s sake, go blocker on this guy. Keep it away from his glove.
2. Keep the Sedins out there for 20 mins. Despite no points on Thursday, the Sedins did have a terrific game. AV has to keep them rolling and keep them on the ice. Hopefully they get a right winger who shows up.
3. Put the force field up around Luongo. One thing the Canucks did very well in Rd 1 was keeping traffic and crowing away from Luongo. In expecting the Predators much stronger tonight, one tactic from them may be to go hard at the crease. Canucks have to box out Preds forwards for Lu’s area and let him control his zone.
Here are your top 5 links for today’s game:
1. Tale of the Tape: Predators @ Canucks (Canucks.com)
2. Canucks need to solve the riddle of Pred’s goalie Pekka Rinne’s glove (The Province)
3. Canucks’ Lapierre becoming a Max factor (Vancouver Sun)
4. 9:00pm ET (Yahoo! Sports)
5. Predators @ Canucks Game 2 Preview (On The Forecheck) << SEE WHAT THE ENEMY HAS TO SAY!