This game was meant to be all about Alex Burrows, as it was the 500th game of his career. For someone who started his professional career scoring just 32 points in 66 games in the ECHL, it’s a tremendous achievement. He worked his way into the Canucks lineup by being an agitating checker, but has become a sparkplug, top-line forward alongside the Sedins.
The Predators ruined everything, however, by not letting Burrows score 5 goals so someone could win Safeway’s Million Dollar Score and Win. So Burrows instead celebrated by getting under an All-Star’s skin, just like old times, taking Shea Weber off the ice with a coincidental roughing minor when the Canucks were down by one. It was a savvy move, but his teammates couldn’t take advantage. His 500th game was ruined, but I still watched it. I watched this game.
Canucks 1 – 3 Predators
I forgot how much I hated the Tootoo train whistles during the playoffs. Thanks for reminding me, Nashville fans, that was very thoughtful of you.
Nashville apparently has their own version of the Green Men, one dressed in blue and the other in gold. They were wearing shorts and didn’t have cardboard cutouts of Pamela Anderson in a Predators jersey. Amateurs.
Out of nowhere, Shorty and Garrett started talking about Lent, the period of the Christian liturgical calendar from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday usually marked by fasting and self-denial. Apparently Garrett is giving up red meat for Lent, which will be a big sacrifice for him because…well, I’ll let him explain. Garrett: I’m a burger, you know… Shorty: You’re a burger? Garrett: I am a burger a-fischi-on-doh.
Really, Garrett was on fire, later saying The seamless glass has seams. Yeah.
The Predators demonstrated exactly why they have the second best powerplay in the league with some impressive rotation with the man advantage, completely discombobulating the Canucks’ penalty kill so that Mike Fisher was wide open at the side of the net to open the scoring.
Pekka Rinne has struggled against the Canucks this season, but hasn’t struggled against the rest of the league, so it wasn’t too surprising to see him back to his usual glove-like-a-black-hole, puck-swallowing self. He destroyed Aaron Rome’s hopes and dreams with a diving stop early in the second to keep the score tied, then made Daniel Sedin feel like a shlemiel with a kick save that eventually led to the Predators’ second goal.
Sami Salo had a rough game: he was the one who lost Fisher on the opening goal and then he got caught flat-footed between pinching and backing up into the neutral zone while on the powerplay, allowing Fisher to go in with Sergei Kostitsyn on a short-handed 2-on-1. Edler played it reasonably well, but Fisher’s backhanded saucer pass was the kind of perfect usually reserved for awesome DDR players.
With the Sedin line shut down by the smothering Predators defensive play, the second line stepped up offensively, particularly David Booth. He was superb, tying Fisher with a game-high 6 shots on net, hitting a post, and going hard to the net, including into the net head first at the hands of Shea Weber. It might have been interference, but the refs didn’t see it that way. That’s okay, I’m used to others not seeing things my way; I’m basically Lieutenant Worf without the bat’leth.
Hey, remember Byron Bitz? Dale Weise wants you to forget about him. Weise’s neuralyzer was the only Canucks goal, as he pounced on a loose puck after some strong work by Manny Malhotra on the forecheck. When the 4th line gets your only goal, that’s a problem. That’s like buying a cable package that only has the DuMont Television Network.
At one point, the Nashville arena played “Hammer Time.” What. I just. I don’t even. What. MC Hammer is pretty much the exact opposite of the Predators: fiscally irresponsible, overtly flashy, and with only short-lived success.
Roberto Luongo kept the Canucks in this game, making 30 saves, including an absolutely incredible save on Shea Weber that was vintage Luongo. He challenged Weber on the breakaway, expecting the shot, but once he was beat by the deke, he didn’t give up, reaching back and getting just enough of the puck with his glove to send it wide of the post. The save was so vintage that every hipster in BC immediately declared that they were into that save before it went all mainstream.
Chris Tanev has been good in return to the Canucks’ lineup, but he still seems tentative at times. His most frustrating moment came late in the third when Mason Raymond set him up at the point with acres of room to take a shot and David Booth screen in front; he instead chose to attempt a pass to, well, no one. When down by one, that puck has to be directed towards the net.
Though the shot totals were close in the third period, the Predators dominated in terms of quality scoring chances and finally capitalized on one with 3 minutes to. With all five Canucks on the ice overloading the side with the puck, David Legwand was more alone than Alex Pruitt, and blasted a slap shot top corner.
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