By Amanda DiPaolo
Another close game in the Western Conference Semi Finals saw the Vancouver Canucks and the Nashville Predators go into overtime for the second game in a row. Shea Weber took a hooking penalty at 10:05 into overtime and the Canucks cashed in to win the game 3-2 and take a 2-1 series lead.
Ryan Kesler was holding Weber’s stick, but it was the Predators captain who took the penalty.
Predators forward David Legwand was not shy about his feelings towards the call. “I don’t know if Timmy Peel had a date or something, but he wanted outta here pretty quick,” he said to Dan Murphy of Sportsnet.
Head Coach Barry Trotz also questioned the call.
“I thought it was a bit light considering all the other stuff that was going on. I’ve seen it – a sell by Kesler; he chicken-winged the stick and kept moving. If you look at it, Weber is pushing on him and trying to pull the stick out of there. I’ve seen it before. In one of the earlier games they drew a couple of penalties like that, by chicken-winging the stick and just holding it there. They just keep moving and see if they can sell it. They’ll say it was a good penalty, and I’ll say it was a bad penalty,” Trotz said.
“It’s unfortunate that a call like that cost us the game,” Weber said.
The Predators opened the scoring at 10:18 into the first period when Legwand scored shorthanded. The goal was Legwand’s third of the post season. Ryan Suter and Nick Spaling picked up the assists.
Vancouver tied the game early in the second with Jerred Smithson in the box for a hi-stick. Kesler scored his first goal of the playoffs at the 1:00 mark.
Vancouver and Nashville exchanged goals in the third period to send it to overtime. Chris Higgins gave the Canucks the 2-1 lead just 3:03 into the third period. Joel Ward scored the equalizer with 6:42 left in the third.
Goaltender Pekka Rinne, who made 44 saves, says Nashville needs to work on their special teams. “Things happen so fast so it’s just part of the game. A couple goals again against our penalty kill – we just have to improve on our special teams overall. Our power play and penalty kill, it’s not at the level it should be at this point in the season.”
The Predators have a chance to even the series on Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena.
“We move forward,” Legwand said about what happens next. “We’ve got to win Thursday night. I think we’ve got to come back and be ready to bounce back.”
Additional Game Notes
Sullivan left the game late in the third period with a lower-body injury and did not return in the overtime frame.
Nashville is 0-12 on the power play this series, after connecting 22.2% of the time in the first series against Anaheim.
The Predators only had one shot on goal for nearly 19 minutes of the second period.
When a team scores a shorthanded goal this series, the teams are 0-2. In an exact reversal of tonight’s outcome, Alex Burrows scored on Saturday night shorthanded but the Predators went on to win in overtime.
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