Matt Halishuk Celebrates His Overtime Goal. Source: Canadian Press

That Was Impekkable!

Today’s music selection is Adolescent’s by Incubus.

To say that Barry Trotz the head coach of the Nashville Predators was upset after his teams’ game one performance against the Vancouver Canucks would be an understatement.  The usually cool and calm demeanor of Trotz was severely tested after his teams’ rather lethargic performance on Thursday night.  He expected his team to play better than they did….play with more emotion, energy and intensity.  Eventually as game two evolved, they got the message.

In a series that may not generate much offense, Nashville’s Matt Halischuk scored the game winner in the second overtime with 5:09 left to go, giving the Predators a victory to even up the series.  Two important points I want to make here.  One, with just barely a minute left in regulation, hanging on to a 1-0 lead, Vancouver netminder Roberto Luongo was beaten off a bank shot by Predators defenceman Ryan Suter sending the game to overtime.  Two, the old saying is you’re never in trouble until you lose at home.  The Canucks and Luongo had a chance to go back to Nashville up two games to none, and make it a best of three so to speak, are now chasing those same demons again.  Can they ever win the big one?

Pekka Rinne the Vezina Trophy candidate of the Predators was outstanding last night, especially in overtime.  Rinne made some game saving saves to keep the Preds in the game, especially his save on Canuck defenceman Kevin Bieksa. All in all Rinne made 32 saves in the game, including 11 in the overtime periods to help his team head home with the series tied at one game a piece.  Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, two of the most reliable and dangerous defensive partners in the NHL today, each played key roles in their teams victory.  Check out these two incredible saves by Rinne:

The Canucks on the other hand must feel a bit snake bitten now, as they will need to figure out two things.  One, how to break past Rinne and the Predators defence.  With Nashville having the home ice advantage and the ability to match lines since they have the last change, Alain Vigneault’s bench management could be exposed, much the way Joel Quenneville has done in the past three years on Chicago ice.  Two, can Roberto Luongo bounce back from this one?  Honestly, and I know I’ll catch hell for this, he just can’t seem to win the big one.  Sure he went over 1:26:11 without giving up a goal, but to be under a minute away from taking a series advantage of 2-0?  He’s been in these pressure situations before and has failed.  With the series for Vancouver laying squarely in his shoulders, he needs to prove that he has moved past these late goals, and other mental lapses that have prevented his teams from advancing.

Lastly, where are the sisters Daniella and Henrietta?  I believe that Henrietta has now gone 11 playoff games without a goal.  As good as these two are in the regular season, when they come up against better competition than they have in their division, which is where they seem to do the most damage, they become invisible.  Virtually shut down since Dave Bolland of the Blackhawks returned, these two offensive imposters juggernauts will need to step up their game.

Final thought.  When the Canucks celebrated their victory over the Hawks they behaved as though they just won the Stanley Cup.  Remember boys, it takes 16.  Not 4.  Your goalie will have to be impekkable as well.

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Tags: Barry Trotz Impekkable Matt Halishuk Pekka Rinne Ryan Suter Shea Weber

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