Nashville Predators at Vancouver Canucks: Three Factors that Secured GM2 Win

It isn't always pretty in the postseason, and the Predators showed that in their Game 2 win to even the series with the Canucks on Tuesday.
Nashville Predators v Vancouver Canucks - Game Two
Nashville Predators v Vancouver Canucks - Game Two / Derek Cain/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
4 of 4
Next
Dakota Joshua, Nils Hoglander, Alexandre Carrier, Cole Smith
Nashville Predators v Vancouver Canucks - Game Two / Derek Cain/GettyImages

The Penalty Kill isn't a Weakness Anymore

The biggest series x-factor coming in, and the primary reason I had the Canucks in 7, is my doubt that Nashville's penalty kill would be able to survive against Vancouver 10th-ranked power play led by Elias Pettersson.

Well, so far my doubts have been squashed. The Canucks are 0-for-6 on the power play, and failed on four power play chances in Game 2. And yet the Canucks fans still wanted more power plays called in their favor. Oh well, it's a physical series so get over it. The last thing either fanbase should want is a whistle happy officiating crew.

Again, let's show love to Carrier for his work on the penalty kill. You can argue that he was the MVP of Game 2. His work with McDonagh, Sissons and the top penalty kill unit was massive for getting Game 2 across the finish line.

One thing you're seeing the Predators do well as a team on the penalty kill is giving Saros lanes to see the puck. They're protecting the house and forcing the Canucks to take shots way out by the blueline and hoping for puck deflections or goalie screens.

feed

Credit to Saros as well in Game 2. Even though he only faced 18 shots, he still finished with a 2.16 Goals Saved Above Expected. The Canucks by far had plenty of quality scoring possessions and just didn't take advantage. Some of that is self-imploding, but a lot of credit goes to the Predators defending their zone.

Now we have to wonder if Game 3 will be more of the same or if this series is about to take on a different look in Nashville. I don't see the Predators winning both Games 3 and 4 without increasing their offensive pressure.

I'm sticking to my original prediction of Canucks in 7, but that was made before the Demko injury news. That might be just enough to swing the pendulum their way and get out of the first round for the first time since 2018.