May 7, 2011, 5:33 PM EDT
Tonight’s lone game in the playoffs takes place in Vancouver where the Canucks look to finish off the Nashville Predators in Game 5 (8 p.m. ET, Versus). Vancouver’s slowly taken control of this series thanks to the work of Ryan Kesler and Roberto Luongo. Kesler’s work in scoring big goals in Games 3 and 4 have helped them swing momentum in their favor. Luongo’s play in goal has managed to have him outduel Pekka Rinne in this series and that’s saying a lot given how great Rinne has looked.
A couple of guys having a hard time in this series just happen to be related. Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin aren’t quite looking like their MVP-like selves. Henrik Sedin has a goal and two assists while Daniel Sedin has just two assists. Compared to Kesler’s three goals and four assists, their efforts aren’t looking nearly as good. Having to deal with Shea Weber and Ryan Suter shift in and shift out probably has a lot more to do with that than anything else. Getting them going tonight wouldn’t be the worst idea.
For Nashville, they’re already going without Steve Sullivan and now they’ll be without checking forward extraordinaire Jerred Smithson. In Smithson’s place will be veteran power forward J.P. Dumont as he’ll hope his savvy and experience will help the Predators overcome the Canucks stifling defense and attack. The Predators just flat out need goals to stay involved in this series and the combination of injuries and Luongo in goal won’t make that any easier.
If Vancouver is able to lock up the series, it’ll mark their first appearance in the Western Conference finals since 1994 when they went to the Stanley Cup finals and ultimately lost to the New York Rangers in seven games. Nashville wants to put Vancouver in the same uncomfortable position the Blackhawks put them in in the first round and force a Game 7. They’ll need to win one now and send it back to Nashville to make that happen though. With how things are shaking out lately, confidence isn’t very high that that will happen.
- Discuss: Bruins rally in third, take 3-0 series lead 0
- Video: Callahan gets away with high-sticking Chara 8
- Playoffs Tonight: Kings look for ‘killer instinct’ against Sharks 9
- Brother says Patrick Roy will be Avs’ head coach 21
- Video: Controversy colors Blackhawks goal, disallowed score 56
- Discuss: Detroit takes 2-1 series lead vs. Chicago 88
- Video: Viktor Stalberg returns after head-first sprawl into boards 2
- Brown, Toews, Alfredsson up for Messier Leadership Award 9
- Playoffs Tonight: Blackhawks look to ‘ramp up our intensity’ vs Red Wings 13
- Report: Patrick Roy a candidate for Avalanche head coaching job 9
- Video: Crosby scores hat trick, hits playoff milestone against Senators (91)
- Discuss: Detroit takes 2-1 series lead vs. Chicago (88)
- Bryzgalov thinks Stalin did a good job, wishes Philadelphia wasn’t so old, and believes poor people don’t want to work (80)
- McPhee says lack of power plays ‘didn’t feel right’; Torts says Washington is ‘whining’ (70)
- Penner blasts refs for having ‘gall to guess’ on goalie interference call (64)
- Live Extra: Watch Sharks-Kings, Game 4
- Durant pledges $1 million for tornado victims
- GTC: Garcia offers Tiger 'fried chicken' for dinner
- Andy Murray out of French Open due to back injury
- Golden Super Bowl to Bay Area; LI to Houston
- PBT: Grizzlies aim to stem Spurs' momentum
- CSN: Tiger admits he and Sergio don't get along
- Play Video: Are the Red Wings a true contender?
- Play Video: Chara bleeds after being struck by high-stick
- Play Video: Time to play Pucktionary
- Play Video: Roenick not happy with call against Blackhawks in Game 3
- Play Video: Must-win Game 3 at MSG
- Play Video: Highlights: Red Wings top Blackhawks in Game 3