Vancouver scored two first period goals and with the help of Roberto Luongo and a smothering defense held on to defeat Nashville an advanced to the next round of the NHL playoffs. It is the third time in franchise history they will play in the Western Conference finals, in their previous two appearances in the Conference Finals they won and made it to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Nashville came out with a lot of energy buoyed by the sellout crowd at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville and forced Vancouver into turnovers and forced Vancouver to take penalties, Vancouver was penalized four times in the first period , but it was Vancouver who got the all important first goal of game 6. Once again Kesler was a big factor in the first period and made a big play on Vancouver’s first goal. Kesler stole the puck from Nashville defensemen Ryan Suter and passed the puck to Mason Raymond in the slot and he beat Rinne to give Vancouver a 1-0 lead. Vancouver score again just 1:43 later when Daniel Sedin poked the puck into a wide open Nashville net on the power play and Vancouver had a 2-0 lead. Even though Nashville has scored only one power play goal in the series Vancouver cannot keep taking penalties.
The start of another period and Nashville scored another early goal. It was another strange goal that got by Luongo. David Legwand banked the puck off Luongo from behind the net and after video review it was determined the puck crossed the goal line. That goal brought the crowd back in the game and Nashville had the momentum. Nashville had a late power play and had good pressure, however, they could not beat Luongo and Vancouver went into the second intermission leading 2-1.
Vancouver having the chance to eliminate Nashville once and for all clamped down defensively in the third period giving Nashville very few scoring chances. Nashville didn’t really have any good scoring chances until late in the period. Jordin Tootoo broke in on the right side and let go a slap shot that almost snuck under Luongo’s arm and with just seconds left in the game Luongo was screened when Shea Weber’s blast from the point was headed into the net but it hit defensemen Dan Hamhuis and with that Vancouver advanced to the Western Conference finals where they will either be facing San Jose or Detroit.
Mikael Samuelsson did not play due to a lower body injury he suffered in Game 5…Daniel Sedin scored his first goal of the series.
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Written by Kevin Kelly