Vancouver 5, Nashville 2: Canucks Strike a Nerve

USA TODAY Sports

The Nashville Predators dropped their seventh straight game in regulation, this time to the Vancouver Canucks by a 5-2 score. The Preds fell behind early (a recurring theme lately), going down 2-0 just 4:34 into the first period. While they made a game of it later on, Vancouver was able to pull away in the third and cruise to victory.

During the second period, however, the Predators showed the most life we've seen in quite a while, as goals by Nick Spaling and Bobby Butler tied the game at 2-2. A rather questionable call (questionable because Alex Burrows got off scot-free) late in the period put Hal Gill in the box for roughing, and the Canucks pulled back ahead within mere seconds.

The bright side, however, is that combined with a win by the Philadelphia Flyers, the Preds will drop to 25th in the overall league standings as a result of this game, moving them one spot higher on the draft board this summer.

Preds Pride Ignited?

There was some nastiness in the 3rd period which featured Shea Weber in the middle of things, first with Burrows and later with Zack Kassian. The Canucks were taking more than a few liberties tonight, and it was good to see the Captain boil over for a bit.

The problem is that others need to be able to follow Weber's lead in situations like that. As Seth Lake noted on Twitter, the refs did nothing as Kassian camped out in Rinne's crease, and didn't leave even as the puck came out to center ice. It's the defenseman's job to stick up for his goalie in those cases, and put some fear into opponents that stuff like that won't be tolerated.

At the risk of stretching the bounds of credulity, I'll share a beer league example from long ago to illustrate my point. Back in 1998, I moved to Indiana and joined up with a team in the Indianapolis rec league. For my first game, I was on defense, paired with a real muscle-bound guy, he looked more like a body builder than a hockey player. On our very first shift, the league's leading scorer from the previous season comes in against us, puts a nasty move on my partner and scores a quick goal. For some reason, he stood over our goalie and shouted "HOW DO YOU LIKE THAT?" while jabbing his stick into our goalie's gut.

That was not a smart decision on his part.

My partner immediately drops the gloves and grabs the guy, who drops his gloves as well. They square off, and my partner one-punches him into Dreamland. The dude was out before he hit the ice, and was out of action for months afterward with a broken jaw. This, all before I even had the chance to think "so... this is Indianapolis hockey."

What Weber showed tonight was a whiff of that ferocious territorial behavior. Hopefully the other guys in the room pick up on that a bit, and the 2013-2014 edition of the Preds makes life more difficult on their opponents than this season's squad has.

Random Observations

  • With so many new faces in the lineup perhaps we shouldn't be surprised, but there were a number of instances where defensive zone coverage was all over the map. Too many Vancouver shooters found themselves wide open tonight.
  • Filip Forsberg continues to win admirers with his satin-smooth puck handling and willingness to shoot the puck. Daniel Bang has made a better impression with each passing game as well, and earned his first career NHL point on Spaling's goal.
  • Here's to hoping that Alexander Edler hears from the league office for his elbow to the head of Mattias Ekholm, who was playing his first NHL game of the season tonight. Ekholm was engaged with Jannick Hansen as he entered the offensive zone, while Edler led with his elbow the whole way in and popped him.

Boxscore - Game Summary - Event Summary

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