Game in a Sentence:
Many were quick to peg this as a “next goal wins” series and in a way it was true – the team that scored the next goal won eventually, it just wasn’t a 1-0 final.
- I’ll leave this recap a bit more brief than I have the other games to this point, mainly because I had some difficulty drawing anything conclusive from this game and I’m interested to grab the takes which belong to you in #BShelf nation. I’m assuming a fair number of you got your first real looks at these teams tonight and I want to hear how you think they stack up.
- Phoenix generated a lot off the faceoff and the Preds were surprisingly disappointing in the circle. Only Paul Gaustad was a noticeable plus on the draw (+5) while Mike Fisher (-6), David Legwand [(-8)!!!] and Nick Spaling (-2) were dominated. I know what might be in store for practice.
- Mikkel Boedker has been a revelation this playoffs. Lots of key goals, lots of offensive flair. Just a great player to watch when he’s in this zone. Definitely a candidate to be this year’s “Bergenheim” now that the real one is out of the post season.
- Mike Smith was really unfortunate to get caught on Brandon Yip’s goal. This is obvious.
- Mike Fisher needs to step it up a notch. Four shots on goal is a step in the right direction but he still looked passive at a couple key moments with the puck and made the extra (read: unnecessary) pass when he, in fact, had the better opportunity. He’s been deeper than the majority of this roster, he needs to be a catalyst.
- A bright spot for the Predators was the Radulov line. They looked flat out dominant at times when they were on the ice. I can’t help but think the goals are on their way…
- The Coyotes were, once again, almost the victims of their own conservative style as they went into their shell in the third and were outshot by a 16-1 margin. You want to know why they keep going to OT? This is why. Their willingness to sit back turns the game into a basketball style shootaround on Mike Smith who can’t stop everything in the world. Phoenix did well to surrender only the one goal. They don’t always make it easy on themselves but they do have a knack for putting themselves in a position to win.
- As we know, it’s not the team that creates the most opportunity but the one that converts them into results that emerges as the victor. Nashville learned this against Detroit when they were outplayed on occasion and still came away with a five game series win. Friday brought about a role reversal as the Coyotes pounced on a chance and converted. That’s life in the NHL playoffs, folks.
- Speaking of life in the NHL: Ray Whitney is having himself some kind of campaign. The OT winner was his fifth point in seven games after he put together a more than respectable 77 points in 82 games during the regular season. The Fort Saskatchewan native is 39 years old. We marvel at all Jagr has done for the Flyers during the playoffs, here’s the Western Conference equivalent.
- Pekka Rinne wasn’t bad but will want to be better in game two. He was a far cry from the guy who stole a couple of games from the Detroit Red Wings in round one.
- Mike Smith continues to be one of the top goaltenders of the post-season with another 35+ save performance. I worry about him maintaining this level of play with all of these overtimes/shots he’s facing but so far he’s still magic.
- I expect the Predators to come out much stronger in game two and win in Phoenix. From there, who knows.
My Three Stars:
1) Ray Whitney
2) Mikkel Boedker
3) Mike Smith