5.07.2011

Playoff Game of the Night


2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Game 5: Nashville Predators vs. Vancouver Canucks @ Rogers Arena
4-3 Final; Vancouver leads the series 3-2

The Canucks look to close up the series in Vancouver in the rainy weather, but the Predators have another intention in mind. Having gone further than ever before in franchise history, Nashville looks to continue their road in the Stanley Cup playoffs all the way to the Cup. But will the Predators be stopped by the Canucks tonight?

Just 3:42 into the game and 11 seconds into the period, David Legwand went crazy on the breakaway and scored the short-handed goal on the first registered shot for Nashville. Roberto Luongo would've loved to have that one back as it just snuck in just under his arm, but now it was up to the team in front of him to provide a goal to respond and up to Luongo to come up with a 'LOU~' worthy save to show which Luongo showed up tonight.

Respond is just what they did. Raffi Torres got his first goal of the playoffs when Jannik Hansen carried the puck into the zone and then fed the biscuit through the defence and behind his back to a wide-open Torres. Who would've thought that Torres would be the one to tie it up, eh? Canucks fans don't care just as long as their team doesn't take for granted who their opponents are.

Nine minutes after the first Canucks goal, the Canucks take the lead for the first time tonight! Ryan Kesler gets his fourth of the season as he beat Shea Weber to the net and gets his stick underneath defenceman's. With the better positioning, Kesler banked in Mason Raymond's pass, beating both the defence and the goalie! 

After the first high-scoring period of the series, Mikael Samuelsson did not return with a lower-body injury and the Canucks give up a goal on a freak shot. You really couldn't even call it a shot as it didn't register as a Nashville shot-on-goal! The entire event was just a fluke! Behind the net, Legwand and Christian Ehrhoff went stick-to-stick and caused the rubber disc to go toppling to the ice in front of the net. As it did so, the puck accidentally gets a bounce off of Raymond's gloves and past an unaware Luongo. You couldn't really blame Luongo on that one. The lucky goal sucked the energy from Rogers Arena and it was starting to sound quieter than the library in Downtown! Not only did it suck the energy, but the goal also gave some life to the Predators! Nashville played with more vigour and hockey sense than the first period.

In the opening moments of the final period, Joel Ward got Nashville's go-ahead goal with a pass-and-go play with Mike Fisher. In the dying moments of the middle period, Vancouver had a jolt and look like they were going to bring it in the third. But that energy dissipated with Ward's sixth goal of the playoffs.

Feeling the pressure of being behind a goal in this series, Alex Edler mishandled the puck and Ward picks up the bouncing puck. The University of PEI alumni didn't even think about doing anything else but shooting the puck past Luongo's sprawling arm out and scoring.

With just under four minutes left in the game, Kesler fired his shot from the blue and awakens the crowd that is the Rogers Arena. The fans watched as the puck soared past Rinne and the Canucks get within one. Never did Canuck fans want an OT period more. That period they did not get. Luongo was pulled out of the net when they were within one, but the extra man did not pay off and the Canucks dropped Game 5 to the Predators and a single goal. Guess my prediction of six games for Vancouver paid off and we're sealing the Dew in Music City.


3 stars:
(1) Joel Ward
(2) Ryan Kesler
(3) David Legwand

























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