Preds Season Over, but Not Forgotten

Thanks for the great season, guys!

The Nashville Predators truly have some of the best fans in the league, and it proved that Monday night after being eliminated by the Vancouver Canucks in Game 6 of the Western Conference semi-finals. 

The 17,113 individuals in attendance stood behind their Predators as the hand shakes were given between the players and coaches of the clubs, and sent the Preds off with an incredible ovation. The crowd stayed in the stands cheering on Nashville, who had its best season in franchise history, and didn’t leave until the Preds left the ice.

It was an incredible sight to see, and despite the loss the fans were absolutely proud to call themselves Preds fans.  

Nashville’s may have been eliminated but that doesn’t change the fact that they had one of the best playoff runs in franchise history and continually made history during the push. The success the Predators found this year garnered a lot of new fans and will undoubtedly bring in more new fans in the season to come. 

I’m proud to say that I am a fan of the Nashville Predators and happy with everything the team did this season even if they were knocked out of the post season. 

Hockey may be over in Smashville for the 2010-2011 season, but it will not be forgotten. Nashville finally received the attention it deserved during its historic playoff run, and will hopefully be recognized as a respectable team and a hockey town from now on. 

Game 6 Recap:

Despite an early first period fluke, Nashville played one of its best games this series. It was not going to give up without a fight and that’s what’s so great about this hockey team. In the face of total elimination, it fights until the last second and never gives up. 

Monday night’s game was intense from start to finish. The Preds started the opening frame with all sorts of energy and for once in the series, had a lot of time possession time with the puck. However, the Canucks were able to get on the board early when Ryan Suter made a poor decision pass to Weber right in front of Pekka Rinne that was intercepted by none other than Ryan Kesler. 

Kesler found Mason Raymond skating towards the net and passed the puck over to him where he backhanded the puck into the twine.  

If things couldn’t get any worse being down 1-0 to the best team in the league, they did when the zebra’s called an unsportsman-like conduct penalty on Jordin Tootoo just over a minute after Raymond’s goal. 

The call was questionable at best. It appeared that Toots was cross checked and fell to the ice as a result of being hit by the stick by such a brute force, but as had been the case this whole series, the refs played favorites and gave Vancouver the power play. 

Vancouver showcased to Nashville why they finished the regular season with one of the top power play units in the league when they scored their second goal of the night just 36 seconds into the Tootoo minor penalty. 

Again, Kesler demonstrated how awesome of a player he really is when he got the puck to Daniel Sedin who scored his first goal of the series. Daniels brother, Henrick, also assisted the goal that brought the ‘Nucks up 2-0. 

Nashville finally answered when David Legwand took a shot to the left of Luongo that somehow found its way past the goal line and into the net. The goal had to be reviewed by the officials and for good reason.

Even on the replay, I still can’t find the puck, but I’m glad for once that the zebra’s and the hockey giants up in Canada sided with Nashville and called the goal good. 

Joel Ward and Sergei Kostitsyn were given assists on Leggy’s goal, which continued Ward’s point streak to five games and saw the first point by Kostitsyn in the series. 

The Predators had the chance to tie things up when Martin Erat got a break-away chance at 13:45 in the second, but he waited too long to make a move and was taken down in front of Luongo and missed his chance. Many fans felt as though Erat should have been given a penalty shot, but the hit was clean and didn’t warrant any kind of punishment against the Canucks. 

If Erat would have just taken a shot instead of trying to rush the net, I believe he would have tied things up. But as Nashville always does, the perfect play is for some reason more important to the team rather than just getting the puck on net. 

The Canucks went on to win the game 2-1 and eliminate the Predators from the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. 

Other Notes:

It wasn’t that Vancouver played a better game, because they didn’t by any means. They were outshot in the first and second period and played more time on the chase rather than carrying the puck into the zone. Nashville just made some bad plays, one of which resulted in a turnover by Suter and the first goal of the night by Raymond. 

We also can’t exactly blame the refs for costing us the game this time either. Nashville had five power play chances over the course of the night, but continued to struggle getting anything done with the man advantage. The team will definitely work to fix that problem next season. 

The game was yet another where the team victorious won by a lone goal. 

I really hope that the Sharks can get things done tonight and stop the Red Wings dead in their tracks. I don’t want Vancouver to win the cup, and I especially don’t want the Wings to win either. And if the Sharks win do win tonight, then the Canucks are going to have a hard time advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Both Chicago and Nashville made Vancouver work extremely hard to eliminate them from the post season, and if San Jose is their next opponent, they will have to work just as hard if not more. 

Win this game San Jose and eliminate the Vancouver, and Smashville will forgive you a little bit for knocking us out of the playoffs those two consecutive years.