Predators will face top team from regular season in second round

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 1:19am

The Nashville Predators will face the Vancouver Canucks in the Western Conference semifinals.

It took two days and a little bit of overtime but the Predators’ next opponent finally was determined when the Canucks defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 in overtime of Game 7 on Tuesday.

That made Nashville the only one of the Western Conference’s four lower seeds to get beyond the opening round. Vancouver was the No. 1 seed after having won the President’s Trophy for having the NHL’s best overall record in the regular season. San Jose, which was No. 2, and No. 3 Detroit also advanced.

The Canucks won the first three games of the series, lost the next three and then were forced to overtime when the Blackhawks scored shorthanded with 1:56 to play in regulation. They won on Alexandre Burrows’ goal 5:22 into the extra period.

“There’s a reason [the Canucks] won the President’s Trophy,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “They’re really good. [The Chicago series] really has tested their resiliency.

“I really think you’re going to see a team that has accomplished something from an internal standpoint.”

Nashville and Vancouver split their four-game series during the regular season. Each won once at home and once in the other’s arena.

The playoff matchup pits two of the three finalists for the Vezina Trophy, the Predators’ Pekka Rinne and the Canucks’ Roberto Luongo, against one another. Both played all four games in the regular season. They allowed a combined total of 14 goals in those four contests.

In addition to Luongo, Vancouver also has twin brothers Daniel and Henrik Sedin, who finished the regular season first and fourth, respectively, in points.

“Obviously there’s the Sedins and they have great depth up front in terms of their lines — the Sedins have the high skill level, and then they have some nasty people,” Trotz said. “[Ryan] Kesler plays a man’s game and they have some guys that do that. They have some guys that get under your skin.

“They’re just a solid team. The [Chicago] series will have really hardened them.”

4 Comments on this post:

By: Lorenzo on 4/27/11 at 9:25

The Vancouver Sun is reporting the Canucks series with Nashville is a mismatch of epic proportions.
They have equated the Shane O'Brien trade to Nashville was nothing more the acquisition of spare parts for the Canucks.

By: WickedTribe on 4/27/11 at 2:33

Let them get overconfident. That's probably the same reason they went to overtime in game 7 against Chicago after winning the first 3.

By: bcbailey64 on 4/27/11 at 4:40

Hi Nashville fans - before things get out of hand (and they will shortly and it's all good fun) I just want to say I'm looking forward to a great series between two great teams. I've been to Nashville and it's a great city - I'm just going to have to hate it for the next couple of weeks. Nothing personal. Let the games begin!!

By: vancouverite on 4/27/11 at 8:48

I'd like Lorenzo to show me where our newspaper said it would be a blowout. We're not that stupid and we don't take anything for granted. We know you have a strong team and it will be a tough series. Come and get us. We're ready.