TERRACE-BASED hockey writer Joe Pelletier talks about the series victory over the Chicago Blackhawks and what the Vancouver Canucks now face against the Nashville Predators.
- The Chicago Blackhawks sure went down fighting like the Stanley Cup champions the are. Lookout next year. If they can free up just a bit more cap room, acquire a couple of depth pieces and have their young talent continue to grow, the Blackhawks might very well be the team to beat.
- The talking heads at TSN were debating if this was the greatest series ever? Based on story lines and drama, I can understand where they are coming from and have to place it high on my personal list. Based on quality of play, this series does not quite measure up. My personal list still has VAN/NYR 1994 and EDM/PHI 1987 at the top. I would place this victory not too far behind, but when all is said and done, VAN/CGY 1994 may still top this. I suppose it depends a bit on what Vancouver does going forward in 2011.
- At the beginning of the series I stated that Vancouver needed post-season improvement from four key people if they are to come close to achieving their promise – Ryan Kesler, Alex Burrows, Roberto Luongo and coach Alain Vigneaut. The results are mixed over the course of the series, but kudos to all four for a strong game 7. Burrows is obvious with both goals, but I thought it was Ryan Kesler who took control last night. I suggested on Twitter that his play would define the Canucks success in game 7, and he owned it. We may have seen this team’s failing torch ripped out of the hands of the Sedins by Kesler himself.
- Now it is the Sedins who must up their game. Outside of game 2, they were largely non-factors in the series. Lack of secondary scoring hurts them, as the checkers can fully concentrate on them. But your best players need to be your best players – and the Canucks best players could be a whole lot better.
- That being said, Nashville historically does a pretty good job against the Sedins. This season Daniel had 1 goal and 3 assists in 4 games. Henrik had 3 assists. They were better in Nashville than in Vancouver.
- I fully expect Nashville to win game one of this series on Thursday night. The Canucks are going to come out flat. That usually happens after experiencing such incredible highs. Nashville is a dangerous team with speed, team defense, and great goaltending and better coaching. Vancouver would be best advised to not dig themselves into a hole.
- The scary thing for opponents now is Chicago pushed Vancouver – the class of the league in the regular season – to another level. Now that they’ve experienced that level, can they get to it again? Will it raise their normal game? Or will they struggle to regain that high against a suffocating Predators team?