It wasn't the prettiest, but the Canucks took game three in OT and stole the momentum back from the Preds and their
yellow orange gold crowd. Vancouver dominated the puck possession early on, leading the shot totals 10-1 at one point. Even when the Preds jumped on the board first Vancouver seemed to comfortably dictate play, giving Nashville next to nothing in the second. Just as in games one and two, the stronger team won.
Quick pithy thoughts:
- Everyone is going to bitch about that last penalty and you can't fault them. Kesler solid it but thems the rules and it's at least payback for more than handful of calls that the refs missed (not that that's a valid excuse either). To my eye, the refs let the boys play but also threw in some head scratchers that probably caused AV and Trotz to use words not applicable for most country songs.
- Hate Kesler if you want, but you're fooling no one if you deny his game tonight. That was old skool Kes: trying to be a bigger SOB than SOB, driving to the net, yapping at anyone near him, beastmode defensively and was clearly the best player on the team. We called him a ticking time bomb in the gamethread...so boom?
- How about that Higgins lad? Granted the Kesler line was a constant threat, but the puck kept finding the Professor and he was effective most of the time, driving to the net and bringing the defense with him.
- Credit the Preds: they make you pay with your mistakes. The lazy clearing in the first and then poor coverage in the third and BAM the light goes on. Frustrating as all hell.
- The penalty kill is ridiculous and we'd have it no other way. Aggressive at the line and patient behind the net, it's textbook and a pleasure to watch (even if I'm kneeling in front of the TV praying to every deity I can name).
- If you have something positive to say about Ehrhoff, feel free to share because I'm at a loss for words. He made one good play and several bad ones. I want to include Edler too but he made some smart plays after that first disaster goal when he may have been too busy checking out the Underwood cut-outs at ice level.
- See what happens when you get traffic in front of Rinne or some solid puck movement and get him moving, if not over-committing? Moar please.
- Dank lead the team in shots and, aside from blowing that 2-on-1, was still pushing the play most of the game. Burrows seemed fine, but anyone else thinking - especially after he left the ice shortly - Hank is lugging around an injury?
- Torres + forecheck + OT = Mancrush.
- Curious if Hodgson was playing? If you blinked in the first and missed the SOB hit, that's all you missed.
- Any reason Ballard wouldn't been more valuable tonight than Rome or Alberts? It's the question that just keeps on giving.
- I saw the old Bieksa on one play tonight. That was enough of that reunion tour. For the most part Juice was a difference maker and was tied with Hammer for the most TOI shorthanded. Smart men, smart sticks, smart plays.
- If this was last year, how nervous would have been seeing Wellwood and Rypien skating around in the OT? Lappy and Glass have given AV the chance to roll his pluggers while the top guys (well Kesler anyway) take a breather. Makes a huge difference, especially as the game heads past the 70 minute mark.
- Luongo: can't fault him on the first one, but that second one was tough to see. Not a lot of rubber going his way, but he was effective for the most part, including some strong saves when the Preds were pushing back late in the third.
...and exhale. Next game is Thursday. Assume the Predators will push back harder a la game two, but if they choose to fall back on Rinne and offer little else in front of him, you have to like Vancouver's chances.