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Nashville Predators 0, Vancouver Canucks 1: Silovs immaculate

May 3, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) blocks the shot of Vancouver Canucks center Pius Suter (24) during the second period in game six of the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

The Preds had a chance to stave off elimination again and force a high-pressure Game 7, but were unable to beat Canucks goalie Arturs Silovs, or, ultimately, themselves.

Nashville opened the game strong with some zone time and a pair of good early chances from Anthony Beauvillier and Filip Forsberg, before yielding the zone to Vancouver with another one of the changes of pressure we’ve seen this series. A scuffle broke out in front of Juuse Saros, as JT Miller got hauled out of the paint and Pius Suter briefly got scruffed by Jeremy Lauzon.

The Canucks kept up the pressure, and Quinn Hughes almost converted on a great in-tight pass from Brock Boeser but was foiled by the angle of the shot; the puck slid almost along the goal line and safely away. Gustav Nyquist finally broke out and back into the Vancouver zone, but Silovs made a great poke-check to keep his slate clean.

The period continued in the same vein, with big hits and smooth back-and-forth play, and a few late surges from the Canucks — one from the second line that fortunately involved a big miss from Nils Höglander, and one where Saros had to make another save on Boeser — before heading to intermission.

The Preds started the second off with some interesting defensive play that let Elias Lindholm get a great look, but Saros had the save. Again the teams traded chances, but Vancouver got the better of them, including a long cycle in the Preds’ zone where Nyquist was defending with a broken stick and a few of the skaters could not get a change for almost two minutes until Saros was finally able to freeze the puck.

While Nashville made another brief foray and got themselves set up well in the offensive zone, Silovs made a great save. Boeser then took a high-sticking penalty against Jeremy Lauzon which drew blood, sending the Preds to the power play. Elias Pettersson had a great shorthanded chance, and the Canucks’ penalty kill did good work limiting the danger of the Preds’ chances.

Saros had to make a miraculous save on Suter as the teams returned from even strength; the two collided in a huge shower of snow just outside the blue ice. The Preds were able to trap Nikita Zadorov in his own zone for over two and a half minutes, until he got a whistle by throwing Mark Jankowski to the ice. Jankowski was, for some reason, also penalized for this play.

The arena erupted in outraged chanting as Ryan O’Reilly got crosschecked to the ice by Carson Soucy with no penalty given to Soucy. It would have been a great opportunity for a makeup call for the bad call on Jankowski even if it hadn’t been an egregious penalty on its own; while the Preds’ power play has largely been appalling, it’s never good to see refs just ignoring penalties.

Jason Zucker got a brief look on Silovs, but then the Canucks came back into the Preds’ zone. A massive scramble in front of Saros finally ended in a whistle that felt it took years to arrive. The Preds then proceeded to ice the puck four consecutive times, but somehow managed to escape unscathed from all four DZ faceoffs and make it to intermission.

Again in the third, Vancouver arrived as a significant threat, with Saros having to bail the team out after a disastrous shift. Even apart from that one shift, though, the Canucks were here to play and the Preds did not seem to be — not an ideal attitude for a team facing elimination on home ice.

When the Preds got a brief chance of their own around halfway through the third, off a smart takeaway from Juuso Pärssinen on Miller, Silovs once again came up big with the save. Then it was back to the work being Saros’s. Another Nashville foray was broken up by a giveaway to Miller, and Saros made a jawdropping stop on Boeser on the ensuing two-on-one.

As the period wound towards a close, the Preds got a few more looks on Silovs, including a great one by Kiefer Sherwood, but unfortunately they couldn’t get one past him or spend much time in the offensive zone. Suter broke the deadlock at 18:21, converting a fantastic pass from Boeser from directly behind the goal.

With one minute left on the clock, Vancouver iced the puck, and as Rick Tocchet used his timeout a catfish hit the ice. Lindholm cross-checked Nyquist at 19:26, giving the Preds a 6-on-4 with Saros pulled, but even that wasn’t enough to let them level the score and force overtime.

We’ll have your analysis tomorrow morning, same as the rest of the series; thank you so much for joining us this postseason.

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