The celebration in this instance was more muted for the Canucks, and more becoming of a top seed. Throughout the series, it was as though the Canucks knew for a fact that they were the better team and conducted themselves accordingly. This in stark contrast to the obviously lingering doubts against Chicago. I definitely preferred the attitude they had with the Hawks.
The Predators, meanwhile, closed out their most successful season in franchise history with a very stinky third period. The fans, nonetheless, stood and applauded the team's efforts, a just reward for a full season of hard work and beating teams with both bigger stars and bigger budgets. I would have loved to have seen them pull off the upset, but even as things turned out, I think that team can be proud of what they accomplished in the year gone by... but... I can't believe they ended up with both more diving and chickenwinging penalties in this series. Just had to get that in there. Scoring chances and more after the jump.
For those who'd like a definition: a scoring chance is defined as a clear play directed toward the opposing net from a dangerous scoring area - loosely defined as the top of the circle in and inside the faceoff dots, though sometimes slightly more generous than that depending on the amount of immediately-preceding puck movement or screens in front of the net. Blocked shots are generally not included but missed shots are. A player is awarded a scoring chance anytime he is on the ice and someone from either team has a chance to score. He is awarded a "chance for" if someone on his team has a chance to score and a "chance against" if the opposing team has a chance to score. Finally, a big thanks to Vic Ferrari for making the whole damn thing possible with his awesome scripts.
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
As I mentioned earlier, this was a stinky third period for the Predators, but I think the Canucks deserve a lot of credit for shutting the game down. A couple of goals late in games has made it seem like the Canucks have struggled holding leads, but these breakdowns have been isolated incidents. In general, the Canucks have done a fantastic job of shutting things down when they've been up late in games, and this was just one more example, although this game didn't have many scoring chances at any time, especially at even strength. I gave the Canucks two chances when shooting at an empty net, so those aside, each team ended the game with just nine (not including David Legwand's goal from behind the net).
Worshippers of God
3. Roberto Luongo - Yeah, I know he had the one major gaffe, but he also made a few incredible saves to start the game on what ended up being Nashville's best chances to score. The game would have been much, much different if the Predators had taken an early lead, especially given the ice conditions, and Luongo did a fine job of making sure that didn't happen.
2. Ryan Kesler - Easily the best player in the series, and he had another monster night in Game Six. I think people are misremembering his play against the Hawks now (he wasn't that good), but the fact that it's happening is a testament to how well he's played against Nashville. Another two-point night here gives him fifteen in the playoffs, which leads the league.
1. The Vancouver Defense - So in the end, I couldn't pick just one guy, but the Vancouver defense was excellent in this game. They were aggressive in all three zones without being careless, and it rendered the Predators' offensive attack non-existent. In the third period, they won almost all of the battles for loose pucks when Nashville tried to dump and chase, and given the 1-2-2 (which is being charitable; it was more like a 1-0-4) the Canucks' were playing, that was about Nashville's only option.
Woshippers of Satan
3. Mike Fisher - Another game in which he was outchanced handily, most of it coming in the third period when the Predators needed their deadline acquisition to provide offense. They needed more from him in this game, and more from him in the series as a whole.
2. Sergei Kostitsyn - Another player that was being counted on to produce that just flat out didn't do it. Ryan Kesler had more points in this game than Kostitsyn had scoring chances... for the third game in a row (and if we go back one more, it was a tie). That's not the kind of production that you need out of your leading goal-scorer.
1. The Nashville Power Play - It was awful all series long, and that pattern continued last night. They created a couple of chances early on, but were never able to score. They ended the series with just one power play goal, and not much in the way of scoring chances. It was just bad.