Already member? Login first!

Comments / New

Preview/Live Thread: Canucks @ Preds — Game 6

Apr 30, 2024; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Nashville Predators forward Ryan O'Reilly (90) faces off against Vancouver Canucks forward Elias Lindholm (23) during the second period in game five of the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

It’s do or die for the Nashville Predators…again. Down 3-2 in the series, they forced a Game 6 thanks to a heroic performance by Juuse Saros and some clutch third-period goals from Roman Josi and Alex Carrier, and are on their way back to Bridgestone to try to do it again.

The Nashville Predators

The Preds managed to get a power-play goal on Tuesday, which broke the ice and set them up for their eventual victory. Their power play looked a little better in general, which is potentially very good news — if Andrew Brunette and co. have figured out how to adapt to the Canucks’ aggressive and efficient penalty kill, that has the potential to be a series-changer.

That’s good news, because Nashville continues to struggle to clear the front of the net. As Alex H covered in her analysis of Game 5, they ultimately had the edge in a game where both teams flexed their abilities, but personally I’d feel better if Saros were having to flex his own personal abilities a little less, and the skaters were flexing theirs a little more to help him out.

There were some really good signs in Game 5, from the Preds’ comeback victory, to Saros’s numerous massive saves in a series where he’s sometimes struggled to make those, to the power play clicking and Josi and Filip Forsberg making a big positive impact. We also saw diligent performances from Ryans McDonagh and O’Reilly, as well as Luke Evangelista.

If the Preds can tighten up their defense while continuing to do the things they did right last game, I like their chances of forcing a Game 7.

The Vancouver Canucks

Tuesday must have been an incredibly frustrating night for the Canucks players, as well as their fans, as they lost a chance to win a series on home ice for the first time in a long time on two late goals. It’s been a series of frustration and reversals, as the Preds had a similar experience failing to tie the series late in Game 4, and we saw Nashville’s response to that on Tuesday.

Brock Boeser turned in another great performance and got robbed multiple times by Saros; JT Miller similarly didn’t manage even a point despite some great work. Quinn Hughes continued to tilt the ice. Elias Pettersson has still been eerily quiet, but by and large the Canucks’ best players have been their best players all series long, and they’ve been rewarded for it with the series lead.

Arturs Silovs turned in another very solid performance in net despite the loss, validating Rick Tocchet’s decision to go with him instead of Casey DeSmith. While DeSmith looked off in both his starts, and probably would have lost both with a weaker defensive effort in front of him, Silovs has been confident and largely up to the task. He’s gotten a lot of help from the Canucks’ excellent teamwide defensive efforts, which I’d like to see the Preds break through.

Keep Your Eye on This Guy

Filip Forsberg made some good plays on Tuesday, and found his way onto the scoresheet with assists on both the Preds’ goals. We haven’t seen as much of Scoresberg as we’d like this series, but I’d love to see him notch a few goals tonight, and maybe he can springboard off of last game’s performance to do so.

For Vancouver, I’m still watching Elias Pettersson. He was second on the team in expected goals during the regular season, by Natural Stat Trick’s model, and third in actual goals with 34. He was very solidly okay at even strength, and deadly on the power play.

How to Watch

The game airs at 6PM Central — early this time — on Bally Sports South, TNT, and Max. The radio call, as always, will be on 102.5 The Game.

Talking Points