Snoozer: Game 1 goes to Vancouver
After the emotional high's of Game 7 versus the hated Blackhawks, it's understandable to think that Game 1 versus the defensive orientated Predators would be, shall we say, boring as hell. Boy was it ever. Like, try
It was essentially the Canucks versus Pekka Rinne tonight, because no other member of the Predators decided to show up. The result was an embarrassing performance from the visitors, and an absolutely dominant performance by the home squad in a 1-0 Canucks victory in Game 1 of the second round.
The Canucks outshot the Predators 30-20, but even that is flattering to Nashville. The shots before a late flurry by the Predators were 16-30, Vancouver almost doubling Nashville's shot total.
The Predators defense was unusually worrisome, turning pucks over in the neutral zone, letting odd man rushes and even a breakaway or two get by. Pekka Rinne, as previously mentioned was show stopping. His glove hand was superb, stopping Daniel Sedin, Alex Edler, and others time and time again.
The first period was a feeling out period, much like two prize fighters sizing each other up in a ring. The Canucks outshot Nashville an embarassing 15-5, but couldn't solve Rinne. It wasn't until Chris Higgins in the second period on a 3 on 1 that Rinne was beaten cleanly. Kevin Bieksa, by far the best Canuck on the ice, started the play by feeding Max Lapierre, who skated in 3 on 1. He shovelled the puck over to Higgins, who delayed, waited until Rinne was down and flopping around on his backside, then lifted the puck just over his outstretched glove and in the back of the net. It was in and out so quickly, there was a small deliberation by the referees in determining if the puck had actually gone in. It did, and the score was 1-0.
The Predators didn't respond till about 3 minutes left in the game, when they came at the Canucks with everything. Even then, it wasn't much. This did not look like a second round team. Hell, they didn't even look like a playoff team.
The good news for the Canucks, Roberto Luongo stopped 20 shots for his second shutout of the 2011 playoffs. Daniel and Henrik Sedin had a combined 12 shots and were creating chances even while out against Shea Weber and Ryan Suter.
The bad news was that Ryan Kesler STILL doesn't have a goal, and Henrik and Daniel did not factor into scoring.
Still, the Canucks did what most thought they couldn't; win game 1 after such an emotional game 7. Expect Nashville to bring it in game 2 to atone for such a lackluster performance.