Tonight’s Game 4 match-up between the Vancouver Canucks and the Nashville Predators at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville could be a potentially series deciding game.
If the Canucks win they can take a 3-1 series lead and be oh-so-close to playing in the Western Conference Finals. Lose, however, and the series will be tied up at 2-2 and basically reverts to the start and becomes a best of three match-up.
That’s putting a lot of pressure on the Canucks to win but it seems like the entire Stanley Cup playoffs has been full of pressure situations for the Canucks and they seem to be doing fine so far.
Bench your starting goalie only to have the back-up get injured leading to that same starting goalie having to play in a deciding Game 7 against a team that’s had his number the previous two playoff seasons? No big deal as he led the team to victory.
Have one of the top players on your team, who’s been doing all the nitty gritty things yet unable to get a goal, be called out for not scoring any goals? Well, he’ll come out and score two goals in one game.
The only thing that might be a worry to the Canucks is the less than stellar play of the heralded Sedin twins who just haven’t been able to get going against the Predators as they have a combined 1 point a minus-4. Yet even without them producing the Canucks have still managed to obtain a 2-1 series lead.
That can mainly be attributed to the play of Kesler, who has 4 points in his last two games, and Roberto Luongo. In what has become a goaltending battle, Luongo has managed to come away the victor in two games even if Pekka Rinne has been the one getting most of the attention for his performance this series. Over the first three games, Luongo has only let in 4 goals on 92 shots while Rinne has made 105 saves on 110 shots.
Kesler had some nice words to say about Rinne, talking about how, “he’s a good goaltender over there”, and that the Canucks, “gotta do all the dirty things to get goals.”
So far in the playoffs this year Nashville is 2-2 at home and had a pretty solid home record of 24-9-8 but the Canucks were just as impressive playing on the road this season going 27-10-4 while being the visiting team.
A couple of injury notes: the Canucks are expected to get defenceman Sami Salo back for tonight’s game and the Nashville Predators may have lost forward Steve Sullivan for the remainder of the playoffs after suffering a lower-body injury during Game 3.
The puck drops at 8:30 PM EST tonight. Don’t miss it!