While the two remaining Eastern Conference teams are receiving a borderline excessive amount of rest, the Western Conference semifinals continue. The Detroit Red Wings fought off elimination once again last night and the Nashville Predators hope to do the same in Game 6.
Vancouver @ Nashville (Versus) – 8 p.m. ET; Canucks lead series 3-2
The No. 1 story going into this game is the continued struggles of the Sedin twins, even if Vancouver Canucks coach Alain Vigneault deflected blame from their Game 5 performances. Yet amid all that negative attention, the Predators could use more contributions from some of their own highest scorers. Patric Hornqvist and Sergei Kostitsyn were among the most dangerous forwards for Nashville during the regular season, but neither player registered a point in this series so far.
After four defense-first games, Saturday’s contest was surprisingly energetic, messy and fun. Even though Nashville won, you have to wonder if they can pull off another win at that pace. They might want to do just that in front of their own fans, but their best chance of earning their first second round home victory probably revolves around mucking it up.
The Canucks cannot ask for much more from Ryan Kesler, who’s been an absolute force in this series. Roberto Luongo and Pekka Rinne have been brilliant for most of the five games, but one bad night could put Luongo’s team in another must-win situation while an off-game for Rinne could bring elimination.
Joel Ward was outstanding in Game 5, but is he for real? We’ll find out a lot more about Ward, his team and his opponents in tonight’s game. Stay tuned.