It’s a cliché, but it’s true: your best players need to be your best players. That’s exactly what is carrying the Canucks right now, as they lead the Nashville Predators 3-1 and are one win away from advancing to the conference finals for the first time since 1994.
Ryan Kesler is an absolute stud right now. His goal in game 4 might well be the goal of the playoffs. Up until game 3, everyone was in agreement that he was playing superb hockey, but just wasn’t scoring. Well, with 6 points in his last two games, including two game winning goals, I think it’s safe to say he’s now producing. He’s a Conn Smythe trophy favourite right now.
Everyone’s talking about Ryan Kesler right now, and so they should. But you know who else is producing? Robert Luongo. It was only 10 days ago when half the city believed that he didn’t deserve to start in game 7 versus Chicago, but I bet he has a lot more believers now. So far in this series Luongo is 3-1 with a 1.26 GAA and a .949 SV%. His numbers are absolutely sparkling, yet he isn’t getting the credit he deserves.
Much has been made about the struggles of the Sedins, but I think it has been overblown. They have played against two of the top defensive pairings the NHL has to offer over the last two series. Despite this, Daniel Sedin is 11th in playoff scoring. With three points last night, Henrik is now only one point back of his brother (by the way, we predicted that he would break out before last game). The Sedins can play better, but they’re doing enough right now.
There’s no doubt the Predators are stumbling right now, but there’s lots of series left. If you’ve been a fan of the Vancouver Canucks as long as I have, you know that a series isn’t over until it’s over. Check that, if you’ve been a Canucks fan for the last two weeks, you know that a series isn’t over until it’s over! Regardless, I have a lot of confidence that the Canucks can finish the job, and if they do it will be no small feat in club history. The Canucks haven’t made it to the conference finals in 17 years, and have only done it twice ever. They get a chance to do it one more time on Saturday night.