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‘It’s kind of like that series against Columbus’: JT Miller reflects on Canucks’ game 2 struggles

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Jagraj Lalli
1 month ago
JT Miller knows the feeling all too well. 
Last night, the Vancouver Canucks fell 4-1 to the Nashville Predators in Game 2 of the playoff series, leaving the series tied at 1. Despite the Canucks dominating in shot attempts with 84 to the Predators’ 36, and tallying 18 shots compared to the visitors’ 16, Nashville’s defense was impassable with a whopping 32 blocked shots compared to Vancouver’s 7.
The absence of players like Thatcher Demko, likely out for the rest of the series due to injury, and Tyler Myers, sidelined with the flu, didn’t help the Canucks’ cause. Despite numerous scoring opportunities, the Canucks failed to capitalize, with Elias Pettersson continuing to struggle, registering zero shots on goal out of nine attempts and committing costly turnovers.
 
Miller, reflecting on the missed opportunities, remarked:
“It’s kind of like that series against Columbus with Torts. They did the same thing, they got a lead and they sat around in the zone and blocked everything. They (Nashville) play defense like that no matter what. And they got some brave players but we just have to find a way to keep going to the net. It’s not rocket science here, we’ve got to get it past that layer once. Once it gets by that layer, we seem to have looks we just got to finish on ’em.”
Miller, who was part of the record-setting 2019 Tampa Bay Lightning team, recalled their shocking first-round exit at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets despite their regular-season dominance. Nashville’s defensive onslaught last night mirrored the challenge Columbus posed to Tampa Bay back in 2019, effectively shutting down Vancouver’s offensive opportunities.
In 2019, Tampa Bay’s offensive strategy centred around dominating the slot area between the faceoff circles. However, against Columbus, they struggled to establish a presence there due to the Blue Jackets’ defensive structure. Instead, the Lightning were forced to take low-danger shots from the perimeter, ultimately leading to their downfall.
The Lightning’s loss to Columbus was multifaceted, attributed to their inability to sustain offensive pressure, failure to counter Columbus’ aggressive forecheck, underperforming special teams, and struggles in goal. While the Canucks didn’t face the same issues at five-on-five play, their failure to execute crucial scoring chances echoed Tampa Bay’s struggles against Columbus.
Looking ahead, Game 3 is set for Friday in Nashville, with the series deadlocked at 1. 
Despite the setback in Game 2, the Canucks have shown they can make adjustments after losses throughout the season, and they’ll need to regroup quickly to regain the series lead against a hungry Predators team with fans who are eagerly awaiting the arrival of playoff hockey.

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