Chris Higgins scored the only goal of the game and Roberto Luongo stopped all 20 Nashville Predator shots as the Vancouver Canucks won the opening game of the Western Semi Finals. It was Roberto Luongo’s second shutout of the playoffs and Vancouver leads the best of seven series 1-0.
Vancouver showed no signs of a team that was emotionally or physically drained from their series against Chicago in the first period. Vancouver only had one day off before starting their series with Nashville, they came out strong in the first period. Even though there was no scoring in the first period Vancouver had the better of the play and outshot Nashville 16 – 5. The only reason Vancouver didn’t score was because of Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne. Rinne made several good stops, including big saves on Daniel Sedin and stopping Keith Ballard on an end to end rush. Nashville who killed off two penalties will have to be better in this series as they gave up 8 power play goals to Anaheim.
The second period was a carbon copy of the first as Vancouver continued to dominate, the pace of the game seems to be too much for Nashville. The Predators look rusty and maybe the layoff has something to do with that since Nashville has been off since eliminating Anaheim last Sunday. Vancouver finally scored the first goal of the game when Maxim Lapierre passed the puck to an uncovered Chris Higgins in the slot who snapped the shot past Rinne, it was only a matter of time before Vancouver would score. Vancouver outshot Nashville 10-6, even though Nashville is being dominated they only trail by one and it would be in Vancouver’s best interest to extend the lead.
In the third period finally the real Nashville Predators decided to show up. They started skating and hitting and had the Canucks on their heels. They had a great chance to pull even with Vancouver when Mike Fisher had a short-handed breakaway. Luongo who was a spectator for most of the game came up big in third period to preserve the victory. Nashville outshot Vancouver 9-4 and will take their third period momentum into Game 2 on Saturday, if they play like they did in the third period Vancouver will have to bring their A game if they want to take a 2-0 lead in the series.
Notes: Alex Burrows was busy on his day off as he became a father.
About the Author
Written by Kevin Kelly