The Vancouver Canucks beat the Nashville Predators 2-1 at the Bridgestone Arena to claim the series by a margin of 4-2. Vancouver won all three games they played in Nashville, while the Predators two victories came in Vancouver.
Vancouver's two goals came in the first period on just 7 shots. Mason Raymond was able to slide the puck between Pekka Rinne and the post after Ryan Suter got the puck tied up in his skates and turned it over in the low slot. Raymond's tally came at 7:45 of the first period.
The Predators had pressed the attack well early in the period but had been unable to solve Roberto Luongo. Unfortunately, that trend would continue throughout the game.
The Predators Jordin Tootoo dumped the puck into the zone and was attempting to chase it down when he was elbowed in the face and knocked down. Referee Steve Kozari saw it as diving on Tootoo's part and sentenced him to the sin bin. Daniel Sedin would score the game winner on the power play at 9:28.
David Legwand gave hope to the citizens of Smashville at 3:28 of the second period as he took a shot from the goal line that slid under Luongo and into the net with Luongo lying on top of the puck. After a lengthy video review, it was deemed a goal. Unfortunately for the Predators, that was their last offensive thrust, and the game would end by that 2-1 margin.
Let me congratulate the Canucks. They are a talented team and they played well. Head Coach Alain Vigneault is pushing the right buttons with his squad.
As for the Nashville Predators, this was a loss that is difficult to take. The Predators showed that they could compete and compete very well with the Canucks. Head Coach Barry Trotz and his staff is to be congratulated for getting the last drop of effort out of the talent that they put on the ice.
The players fought and scrapped and played with heart. I cannot and will not for a moment fault their effort.
But here is the fact: when you go 1 for 21 in the series on the power play; when 2 of your offensive leaders fail to register a point in the series; and when you fail to finish your offensive chances, it is very difficult to capture a series. Especially against a talented squad like Vancouver.
For this young franchise, this run into the second round caps a season of firsts, a season that has seen the fortunes of the Predators both on and off the ice take a positive turn.
As painful as this loss feels, this is part of the growing process as a group of players and as an organization. The desire that was kindled after last season's untimely first round exit grew into a driving force that carried this squad to the second round.
Now you know what it takes to get there, and more importantly, you know how much more it hurts when you get knocked out in this round.
Lessons- sometimes painful- that have to be learned.
Congratulations to the Predators and their organization. The team on the ice represented Smashville well and we are proud of you.
And we will stand with you through this loss and the the expectation of even better things next season.