The Predators were able to beat the Canucks in the second overtime of game two. Following some sloppy playing throughout most of regulation, and all of the OT, Matt Halischuk was able to score and give the Preds its first win of the series.
If I were forced to pick two words to describe game two of the Western Conference Semi-finals between the Predators and the Canucks, they would be Pekka Rinne. Rinne was without a doubt the only reason the Predators were able to stay in the game.
Rinne made some amazing saves during the course of the game. The most impressive was a one-timer save where Rinne dove from the far left of the crease to catch the puck being shot towards his right side. He also made many crucial saves during the overtime periods when the rest of the team was busy giving up turnovers.
The Preds and the Canucks both played very well during the first frame of the game, and at the end of the period , the score was still 0-0. The Preds outshot the Canucks 12-6 and there was only one penalty given, which was against Vancouver.
In the second period the Canucks scored early. At 2:00 the goal came off of Burrows’ stick putting the Canucks at 1-0 for the majority of the game. This goal was given up as a shorthanded goal and from this point on the Preds seemed to play very poorly.
For the majority of the second and third periods the Predators continued with their dump and chase style hockey rarely trying to drive the puck past the blue line to generate a rush. The good thing though is that even with this style of play, the Canucks did not quite seem to figure it out and turnovers were numerous. The Predators were able to outshoot the Canucks in every period except the two overtimes.
Until the end of the game there were very few body hits. Both teams seemed to be taking it easy. Though there were some hits it wasn’t the intensity of hits you would expect from a playoff game. There were some pretty impressive hits though, including Shea Weber’s hit on Burrows at 10:32 of the second over time.
Martin Erat was still not able to stay away from danger in the second game of the series.
He took a few decent hits, and at one point was struck in the head from a deflected puck and had to leave the game for a brief moment. Luckily though it was nothing too serious and he was able to return to the game, and it looks like we’ll get to see some more of him than usual now that he’s not getting injured.
Ryan Suter turned out to be the unlikely hero of the game. At 18:53 of the third period Suter scored from behind the net. After driving to the net and shooting wide Suter was able to regain control of the puck off the boards and bank his shot off the skates of Luongo.
Once the overtimes started you could see how exhausted the players were. Both teams were playing sluggishly, but the Canucks kept coming away with the puck and getting great scoring chances. Rinne however, was playing one of the best games he’s played in the series and kept making those saves.
During the second overtime it seemed that the Preds just couldn’t do anything. They were trying hard but nothing was going their way. Each time they gained control of the puck they would shoot for a one timer across the slot, and in most cases this resulted in turnovers. At 14:51 of the second overtime however, Spaling gave Halischuck a pass across the high slot instead of the low slot, and Halischuck was able to score and pull off a win for the Preds.
Overall I think the Preds could have played better in this game. Though they were able to out shoot for all of regulation they played way too sloppy in the overtime. In most cases it seemed that they continued with the same tactics even though they obviously weren’t working.
I think the Preds need to find a different way to beat Luongo. They need to try more angles instead of straight shots. The Canucks did play some good defense tonight though. Its obvious that they are both a highly defensive team, but the Preds need to find a strategy to spread out the Canucks some and play some offense on par with them.
A win is a win though, and I think this is the push the team needed to help them get through this series. They played a sloppy game, but hopefully they can learn from their mistakes and win the next two games at home when they have all of us standing with them instead of watching them in a smelly bar.