Vancouver Canucks @ Nashville Predators
5:30 PM PST
|2.89 (8th)||Goals/Game||2.10 (T-14th)|
|2.78 (T-9th)||Goals Against/Game||2.60 (T-6th)|
|15.4% (11th)||PP||21.4% (7th)|
|68.8% (16th)||PK||85.4% (6th)|
> Exposed: The Canucks preached traffic and bedlam to disprove the myth that Rinne is actually some sort of crazed immortal and with a tip of the hat to the refs in OT, it worked. You saw less 40 ft wrist shots and slappers and, as Glass described them, the “greasy” goals: getting in close, bang away at rebounds, make Rinne pay the price for over-committing to angles. The other big story was Ryan Kesler who flipped on beastmode and never looked back, making Raymond and Higgins look dominant as well. With the Sedins slumping (or hurt), it’ll be interesting if Trotz rolls the Weber line out against a far more dominant second line. On the back end, not enough praise is being heaped on Bieksa/Hamhuis but they’re doing a fantastic job of silencing the Nashville big guns. The third pairing remains in flux: will Ballard step in again or does Alberts/Rome take effect again after a lackluster game three? Lastly, Luongo wasn’t tested much 48 hours ago but I suspect that to change tonight. Rinne is getting all the attention, but Lui’s quietly strung together a .923 SV%, third best for the netminders left playing right now.
> Needs A Hero: Pop quiz: who leads the Preds in post season points? If you guessed big ticket names like Erat, Fisher, Kostitsyn, Hornqvist or Sullivan (who is injured and won’t play tonight), you’d be wrong. It’s actually Joel Ward (4G, 3A) and that’s the trend the Preds needs to change if they want to claw back into this series. The Preds are such a finely tuned checking team that they have made Vancouver pay for almost every mistake they’ve made, but in such a tight series, a well-timed snipe from a top sixer would be simply monumental. The Canucks top four don’t give the Preds much to work with, but their bottom pairing could be exploited and you could tell in game three they were aiming top shelf glove side, hoping for results similar to Chicago in the first round. As for Rinne, if he can stay in the paint and not get caught wandering, that’s probably a good start. They also need a stronger PK, which at 68.8%, is dead last in the post season.
> Impress Your Friends With Knowledge!: Suter/Weber trail only Chara/Seidenberg in total shifts per game in the post season (35), but play much longer than their Boston counterparts: Suter leads the post season in TOI for blueliners (29:34) and Weber ranks third (28:45).