Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Canucks Cruise Past the Predators 3-1

The Nashville Predators faced off against the Vancouver Canucks at Bridgestone Arena looking to get back on a winning streak. The Predators had dropped two straight games and needed to pick up points to keep within striking distance of a playoff spot.

The Predators are going to have to wait another game to try to get on track.

Marek Mazanec was in net for the Predators, while the Canucks went with Roberto Luongo between the pipes.

Throughout the game, the Predators pressured Loungo and created some quality scoring chances, but were only able to finish one time. Patric Hornqvist fed Colin Wilson from the low slot and Wilson buried his shot past an out of position Luongo.

That score came just 30 seconds after the Canucks scored in the second period. Brad Richardson caught Mazanec cheating off the post and banked a shot off the Predators goaltender into the net to give the Canucks a short lived lead.

The Canucks took control in the third period as Ryan Kessler scored twice for the margin of victory.

His first goal came off a rebound of a Jason Garrison shot that ricocheted into the low slot. Kessler outmuscled David Legwand to the puck and beat Mazanec in close at 7:37 of the third.

Kessler tallied his second goal on a power play from the low slot off a rebound of another Garrison shot. Kessler lifted the shot over the pads of Mazanec with Ryan Ellis trying to defend.

The Predators pulled Mazanec with over two minutes to go for the extra attacker. They were further aided by a penalty to Kevin Bieksa with a minute to go in the game, but the Canucks swarmed the Predators and they were unable to get a shot off.

Some observations:

  • The Predators gave up their first power play goal in 8 games.

  • The Predators power play was 0-2, continuing their string of futility. The power play continues to have trouble entering the zone and establishing itself. Once inside the zone, there is still a lack of movement and puck support. Frankly, this is hard to explain.

  • Ryan Ellis struggled with the physical play of the Canucks forwards. I am still unconvinced that Ellis is capable of logging regular minutes against forwards with size and strength.

  • Colin Wilson tallied a goal for the second game in a row. The Predators need Wilson to heat up and begin scoring consistently. Hopefully this is the beginning of such a streak.

  • I am not sure what is goalie interference after tonight. Dan Hamuis bumped Matt Hendricks into Luongo, and Hendricks was called for interference. Later, Patric Hornqvist jostled with Hanuis and Hamuis ran into Luongo. Hornqvist was called for goalie interference, even though he had no contact with Luongo. Referee Kelly Sutherland made both calls.

  • The line of David Legwand, Viktor Stalberg, and Gabriel Bourque has gone cold. This line has tremendous potential, but has failed to produce consistently and it is hurting the team. This line desperately needs to get their game going again.

  • The normally reliable Paul Gaustad was 3 for 11 in the face off circle. Mike Fisher was the only Predator that was even for the night, winning 7 of 14. The Canucks owned the face off circle, and this hurt the Predators and their puck possession all night.

  • The Predators had some very good scoring chances, but could not finish. This has been a problem for this team and will continue to be a problem the way it is constructed.
The Predators have dropped 3 straight games and desperately need to turn this around. The team is dealing with injuries to their blue line, but every team is dealing with injuries.

The effort and work ethic is going to have to continue to get back in the win column.

And finish their chances.

My three stars:

1. Ryan Kessler

2. Roberto Luongo

3. Colin Wilson

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