For a team in the midst of a record-setting 7 game losing streak, the Nashville Predators didn't give up without a fight last night. Ultimately, it was the death rattle of a season gone awry, salt in the wounds of a team trying to adjust to the loss of a star player in Ryan Suter. They ran into a Canucks team who at some points looked very much like they should after coming off an embarrassing loss to the worst team in the NHL: tenacious, a little bit angry and ready to take it out on their opponent. They also saw the same team that lost to the Avs: tentative, sloppy and not battling hard enough. The game had some chippy moments for sure, and horrendous officiating from Dan O'Hallaran (big shock, right) and his crew did little to help that.
I know it gets a little tedious telling you over and over that there were some worrisome things in a Canucks win, but you can't expect to hear that everything is rosy all the time. Yes a win is a win, and yes overall they played well enough to win, but these things will definitely come to haunt them if they're not corrected come the postseason. Too many giveaways, too many soft battles for the puck, and too many shots allowed.
Last night saw the Canucks experiment, putting Derek Roy between Ryan Kesler and Jannik Hansen, and it's hard to call it anything but a success. The line looked dangerous all night, providing two goals and giving an already stretched thin defensive corps for the Preds fits. Kesler also provided the spark on the power play, which connected twice. In the same game. Seriously. The other PP goal came from Jason 'Why wasn't I here on the PP all this time' Garrison, with a rocket from the point past a screened Pekka Rinne.
That 2nd period was a thing to forget, as Nashville was allowed to get back into the game, getting on the board with a goal from Nick Spaling, and tying it when the Canucks gave Bobby Butler massive time and space to rip a shot past Luongo. The late PP goal from Garrison came 6 seconds after gigantic oaf Hal Gill was sent to the box for roughing as he took one liberty too many with Alex Burrows in a ferocious sequence that saw Burrows slash Gill a few times. Sure, Burr deserved a penalty, but the slashes came after a couple crosschecks and an outright mauling by Gill. At the end of the sequence Burr drew the call, but that's not the first time the Canucks have made Gill look foolish.
The Canucks will be facing a St Louis team that's struggling a bit, battling to keep a playoff spot and basically a .500 team at home. They've lost two straight, but that's following three straight shutouts from Brian Elliott. The troubling thing for the Blues has to be that the Canucks scored as many goals last night as the Blues have in this last 5 game sequence. It should be fairly easy one would think for the Blues to hang onto a spot in the top 8 looking at their schedule, as all of their remaining games are against teams on the outside looking in, save for tonight and a season ending tilt against Chicago. They're just one point up on 9th place Columbus though, so they will be looking to be ungracious hosts tonight to the Canucks. My prediction? The curse of Jay Bouwmeester sinks the Blues and they end up missing the dance. This guy is just destined to never play a playoff game.
Things will be back to normal tonight after last night's community game thread over at Stanley Cup Of Chowder. It was awesome to see the SBN community come together and put aside rivalries after such a horrifying day.
KICKASS METAL TUNE OF THE DAY
Going back to one of my favorite albums, here's 'Mine Are The Eyes Of God' from Corrosion Of Conformity's 'Blind' album...