May 082011
 

For all the pregame talk about treating last night’s game 5 like a game 7, the Canucks failed to deliver.

More specifically, they failed to finish.

The Canucks outplayed the Predators by a large margin to start the game, yet gave up a short-handed goal on their first powerplay opportunity of the game. They did come back and carried a 2-1 lead into the intermission, only to allow the Preds to tie it up less than a minute into the second period.

If the previous playoff seasons were learning experiences, the Canucks missed the classes on killer instinct.

In game 4 against the Blackhawks in 2009, they were ahead 1-0 in the game with a chance to take a 3-1 series lead. But instead of pushing the play and perhaps taking the Hawks out of the series, they sat back, allowed Martin Havlat to tie the game with less than 3 minutes left in the third period, and then lost the game on Andrew Ladd’s game-winner in OT. The Canucks never won a game the rest of the series.

In game 2 against the Blackhawks in 2010, they built a 2-0 lead only 5 minutes into the game with a chance to win the first 2 games of the series in Chicago. They couldn’t find that 3rd goal. Instead, they gave up a short-handed goal early in the third period and the game-winning goal with only 1:30 left in the game.

And as we all remember from a couple of weeks ago, the Canucks won the first 3 games against the Blackhawks in the first round and need four tries to get the 4th win.

There were some good moments in last night’s game – and the Canucks still do have a 3-2 lead in this series – so obviously all is not lost. But as much as you can see the Predators bear down and play like their lives were on the line, you can also see that a few Canucks play their worst games of these playoffs.

That’s not killer instinct, folks.

The Hero

Joel Ward. Ward had 2 more goals, including the game-winner. He now has 12 points in the postseason, only 1 point back of Martin St. Louis and Ryan Kesler for the league lead.

The Goat

Alex Edler. Robo-Edler had a game to forget. Besides looking like he’s labouring out there, he also punched in a goal behind Roberto Luongo.

The Numbers

  • 21. Despite outplaying Nashville throughout this series, the Canucks have only held a 2-goal lead for a grand total of 21 seconds in its first 5 games. That was in game 4 after Henrik Sedin scored into an empty net. On the other hand, while the Predators haven’t played with the lead much, they did have a 2-goal lead for 10 minutes and 29 seconds last night.
  • 4. Daniel Sedin was on the ice for all 4 Nashville goals.
  • 11. Aaron Rome only had 11:45 minutes of ice-time. Meanwhile, Alex Edler played almost 24 minutes. I can’t help but think that, if the Canucks had another capable, top-4 defenseman on the roster (*ahem* Ballard *ahem*), they could’ve put him out on the ice instead of Edler, who was clearly struggling last night.

The Next Time

The team that’s played better has won every game this series. Even though the scores have been tight – largely thanks to Pekka Rinne – the Canucks won the games in which they’ve outplayed the Predators.

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