VANCOUVER, CANADA - MAY 7: (from left) Tanner Glass #15, team trainer Mike Burnstein, Dan Hamhuis #2, Aaron Rome #29, goalie Roberto Luongo #1, Kevin Bieksa #3 and Sami Salo #6 of the Vancouver Canucks watch the final minute of play of the third period in Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Nashville Predators from the bench during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 07, 2011 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Guess its got something to do with luck... But I've waited my whole life for just one...(Cup!) Who knew the Violent Femmes were Canuck fans?
Joel Ward? Love to have him on my team. David Legwand, the other two goal guy? Ummm, no thanks. The Preds got some great luck, some breaks with the officials, and made their own breaks as well with some hard work.
In all seriousness, before getting to the ratings for a wild and woolly game tonight, here's why Legwand would not be welcome on "my team". David Legwand is a punk. Yep, he had two goals, though one was about the luckiest I have ever seen. I get that some think there may have been "another angle" where he got supposedly clipped in the second. I did not see it. Play the game bud. You are actually good at it when you are engaged and playing hard. But unless anyone can post me a clip that shows different, I am going with calling him the worst diver I have seen. It was embarrassing. For all the complaining about embellishment from Trotz and Co, that was about the worst I can remember seeing. It did not result in a call, true. But, the way he was working the refs through two TV timeouts, it might have bought them some leeway. That might have been just enough. Don't forget this is the team that inspired Mr Murray of the Ducks to go off with one of the best rants I have read from an off ice guy. I think we saw his point with this play, at least.
That aside, the Preds deserved to win the game. Ward and others had a great game. Their team blocked 30 shots, to 17 for the Canucks. That is buying in. Fisher and Klein led with 6, and Suter had 5. I would wager several of those would have found their way behind Rinne, even playing as he was. He was overplaying at times, and the net was there. The defenders paid the price to prevent it.
The Canucks outshot the visitors 34 to 22. Or, 64 directed at Rinne, and 39 at Luongo. They had 31 hits to 22. They won 47 of 76 draws. 14 takeaways to 7 for the Preds. Entire shifts were spent in the Nashville end.
It just ended up not being enough. For the first time this series, the "best" team did not win.
"Its the one that says Badass Motherfucker on it..." ;
If there was a doubt as to who is the engine of the Vancouver team, the best player on the best team in the regular season, it was answered once again by Ryan Kesler. Apart from the production, I think he missed two shifts after taking a puck to the face that required stitches. Tonight's tally? Well, 2 goals, one a beast move past Weber, and another yet a further example of how good his shot is now. 29 shifts, and 20:38 TOI ( 2:45 PP/ 1:15 PK ), 4 shots, 6 hits, a takeaway and a blocked shot. A force all night. Another "jump on my back boys, and let's go" game for the best player in the playoffs right now. Oh yeah, a mindblowing 21 of 26 faceoffs won. They lost, so only a 9.5/10. Give him something to shoot for. ( He was an even with two goals scored, but the best player on the ice )
Chris Higgins is loving playing with Kesler as well. Their chemistry has gotten better every game. Several shifts tonight he was a beast along the boards. 26 shifts and 17:36 TOI ( 1:15 PP ). He had an assist to go with 3 shots, 2 blocks, 2 hits, a +1, ( though he had shifts where no one could take the puck from him along the boards ) and a takeaway. Not part of the problem most the night. 8.9/10.
Mason Raymond is flying. The defenders of the Preds are making it tough to cut to the net for anyone, but he is at least trying, and using his speed to make that line even more dangerous. In 28 shifts and 20:23 TOI ( 1:15 PP / :45 PK ) he had 1 assist, was an even, had 2 shots, missed 1, blocked 1, 1 hit and 3 takeaways. 8.810.
The Twins ; a retrospective ;
What a night for the Sedins. And I don't mean that in a good way. They might have been, at times, the most dangerous line without a Kesler on it. They were also beaten for most the goals against tonight.So, what's fair? Well, lets start with Henrik Sedin. The elder brother had 28 shifts and 22:43 TOI ( 2:45 PP ), and had 3 shots, and was a -3. He was 9 of 22 in the circle, and was not that good on offensive draws all night. Yet, if he would have shot on two on ones, he might have had a goal or two. 7.3/10.
Daniel Sedin, the younger of the two by eight full minutes? Well, he managed to better his brother by getting 4 shots. He also was a -4 in his 28 shifts and 22:18 TOI. ( 2:45 PP/ :03 PK ) He was credited with 1 takeaway that his bro' was not. Thats something right? 7/10.
Alexandre Burrows looked to still be working hard. In his 28 shifts and 19:55 TOI ( 1:15 PP / : 36 PK ), he ended up a -2. That was the best of his line though! He had a shot on net, and missed 2 more. He won 1 of 3 draws, but was credited with no hits. He killed penalties well, at least. Not up to his high standards on this night. 7.4/10.
Those low marks for the Twins line may seem a bit unfair. There were some bad plays by the defensemen on the goals against as well. Samuelsson and Ehrhoff, and Edler, were more to blame for the shorty that started the scoring. But they did not back check all that well tonight. They have to produce to be effective. Tonight, they just did not close the deal.
So, was that a good night or not ? ;
It was an uneven night for the third line, as it was for the entire team tonight. Maxim Lapierre, for instance.Well, he was a +1. He blocked 2 shots, and 3 hits in his 16 shifts and 10:10 TOI ( :36 PK ) He was also benched in most of the third in favor of Cody Hodgson. 7.8/10.
His wingers both played better. Raffi Torres, for instance, scored a goal that was a quick response to the Legwand shorty. He assisted on another. In addition to being with Lapierre early, he and Hansen worked fairly effectively with Hodgson in the third. He was a +2, with 2 shots, and 2 hits in his 22 shifts and 13:28 of all 5 on 5 TOI. Not a problem tonight. 8.99/10.
Jannik Hansen is getting more and more confident. His pass to Torres for the 1st goal was well done, as were several other plays. He had a couple rushes up ice all on his own, where his speed backed off defenders. In 23 shifts and 13:35 TOI ( :48 PK ) His 1 assist, 4 shots, ( 1 missed ) 3 hits and 2 takeaways were evidence of another guy that was not a problem tonight at all. 8.98/10.
The kid has got something, you know ? ;
If nothing else tonight, Cody Hodgson showed his coach he can handle more ice. Its funny, in his 15 shifts, he only had 1 shot in 7:27 TOI. But that belies the fact that he was engaged every shift. That his 4th line outplayed the Preds 4th line, more or less. He was good enough to get most of Lapierre's shifts in the third, as AV tried to get another goal. He was 6 of 8 in the circle as well. 8.75/10.
A tough night for Mikael Samuelsson though. Between Edler and Samuelsson, they were partially responsible for the Pred's first goal. he struggled in his own end. But he also has been probably playing with an injury for a while, and when he went off, it sure looked that whatever bindertwine and bungee cords he had been using to hold it all together gave away. A -1 in 5 shifts and 2:58 TOI ( :48 PP ) Almost makes it an incomplete. 6/10.
Tanner Glass was not injured. He just was not that noticeable most of his 10 shifts and 5:02 TOI. An even, 1 shot, 1 block, 1 hit. 7/10.
The not so Dream 6 ;
Well, that was not the best night for our blue liners huh? Maybe Alberts and/or Ballard make the cut the next game? Nahhhhh!
High minute man was once again Dan Hamhuis, with 28 shifts and a team high 24:08 TOI ( :37 PP / 1:16 PK ). He was one of the better ones on a tough night for the team. 1 assist, and even, 1 shot ( 1 missed ) 3 blocks and 1 hit. His play was far more good than bad tonight. 8.05/10.
His partner, Kevin Bieksa, was the one of two defenders ( Rome the other ) to finish a plus, going +1 in 28 shifts and 22:21 TOI ( :26 PP / :42 PK ). 2 shots, 4 hits, 3 takeaways, and an equal number of giveaways. 8.28/10.
I wish I could say the same for the next pairing. Christian Ehrhoff had a somewhat less stellar evening. In 31 shifts and 21:10 TOI ( 1:54 PP / :44 PK ) he ended up a -2. only 1 shot got on net, as two more missed. I won't blame him too harshly on the 2 penalties taken, as I disagreed that he deserved them. Both times it looked more like he was a victim of potential head shots or close to it by Legwand and Fisher. ( definitely Fisher in the 3rd. I never knew the guy was so dirty! First it's Kesler's junk, and now, last game a shot to the jaw of Salo after the puck is gone, and an attempted decapitation of the German ) He did have 3 blocks and 2 hits, but was more Errorhoff than The Hoff tonight. 6.9/10.
Alexander Edler was only marginally better. In 32 shifts and 23:44 TOI ( 2:36 PP / :44 PK ) he ended up a -1. He had 3 shots on net, but 2 missed. 1 block, 4 hits, a giveaway to offset a takeaway round out a less than expected night from our "#1 defenseman". 7.22/10.
Sami Salo usually adds a calming influence to the defenders, and he was not horrible. He finished an even in his 27 shifts and 15:38 TOI ( 1:04 PP / :34 PK ) He had 2 shots, a block, a hit, and a giveaway. I got the feeling he might have been OK with more shifts if given them. I did not get that feeling from any other pairing. ( well, maybe the Juicey Hammer. But no one was fantastic all night, you know? ) 7.6/10.
Aaron Rome. He gets the grief around NM, but he was a +1 on a bad night for the defensive core. He did that with 11:45 of all 5 on 5 TOI over 21 shifts. 2 blocks, a shot on net, 1 hit and 2 takeaways. 7.8/10.
Well...shit Lui! ;
This was a tough night for the Roberto Luongo. His team is the better by far in the first, and the other team gets a weak turnover on the penalty kill, giving a breakaway to Legwand for the first goal. The second was the luckiest goal I have seen in quite some time. The third was a wonderful shot by Ward, on an even nicer pass from Fisher. The fourth goal, his defense did not give him much help, and Ward beat him with a nice shot again. Yet, he stopped several breakaways and made some tough saves. He definitely gave his team a chance in the third, after they gave up the lead. 8/10.
So, I know we are all disappointed that they did not close it out. Perhaps we should be, perhaps not. There was a few good things in this game. Cody Hodgson showing his form. Kesler's continued dominance. The Twins, for their bad night statistically, might have had their best game offensively, pressure wise anyhow, in a few. They still drew the Suter / Weber matchup through the vast majority of the game.
Plus, they had an opponent desperate enough that Legwand was willing to try his acting chops, a couple refs that were letting a lot go, and lets face it, not their best defensive performance. The Canucks have been winning close games in this series because of their discipline in their system. They got away from that. The Preds also played a lot more aggressive than in other games. I actually saw two forecheckers on more than one occasion with the lead, you know?
Expect a pissed off band of Canucks on Monday night. I know I am developing a good hate of at least one Predator player!