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Preview/Live Thread: Preds @ Canucks — Game 5

Apr 28, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators head road Andrew Brunette talks with center Gustav Nyquist (14) against the Vancouver Canucks during the third period in game four of the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

It’s do or die for the Preds tonight, and we’ve got a late start to go with it.

One interesting tidbit: if this game goes to multiple OTs, it’s probably safe to just go to bed and just check our recap and analysis in the morning. I can’t find a concise writeup of the phenomenon again, but teams that win a long way into the game very often win the series but lose the next game in the series–if there is a next game in the series–by a lot. We’ve seen this play out in Preds history as well, and it was a hot topic for discussion in 2016.

The Nashville Predators

The Preds need to rattle off three consecutive wins under high pressure if they want to win the series. Judging by Canucks’ fans stunned reactions to Sunday night’s comeback, this might be a case of a resistible force and a movable object, in which case the advantage still lies with Vancouver.

Nashville was improving a lot offensively as the series went on, despite the on-ice results. Defensively, they’ve struggled badly, with Juuse Saros consistently getting screened to the point that he hasn’t been able to do his job. They need to clean that up. Defensive breakdowns and bad luck also played a key role in Sunday’s loss.

If they can get their defense–at even strength and while outnumbered–cleaned up, while continuing to put pressure on the Canucks, I think they have a very good chance. Unfortunately, they’re running out of time.

The Vancouver Canucks

A lethal power play and fantastic performances by their star players have put the Canucks in a great position going into tonight’s game. Quinn Hughes, JT Miller, and Brock Boeser have all made a spectacular impact. They’ve also had Dakota Joshua, who escaped supplemental discipline for a bad hit on Spencer Stastney, step up as another key contributor on the scoresheet.

It’s been a long, unhappy playoff drought in Vancouver, and the Canucks are also fighting to stretch the postseason out for Thatcher Demko. They’ll be highly motivated to close out the series tonight on home ice and get some rest, and Rick Tocchet and their core have put them in great position to do so.

Whether Arturs Silovs will be back in net for the Canucks, or Casey DeSmith will return, is currently unknown.

Keep Your Eye on This Guy

I’ve got mine on Colton Sissons for Nashville. He’s no doubt going to be looking to avenge the empty-netter he was robbed of by the goalpost, and we’ve seen him do good work in the playoffs before (even if Kevin Pollack hasn’t seen it).

For Vancouver, Elias Pettersson has been very quiet this series. He might be playing through injury, but he also might be set to go off in a big way soon. Either way, he’s worth watching.

How to Watch

The game starts at 9PM Central and will air on Bally Sports South and Max, or you can listen to the radio call on 102.5 The Game.

Talking Points