NHL Playoffs: Nashville Predators vs. Vancouver Canucks Game 4
Predators coach Barry Trotz says the Vancouver Canucks are playing games to draw penalties that just aren’t fouls, so he’s going on the offensive. I t’s a big of gamesmanship by Trotz, but the Predators aren’t happy with two penalties called in Tuesday night’s 3-2 overtime win by the Canucks. The victory gave Vancouver a 2-1 lead in the series and home-ice advantage again in their Western Conference semifinal series.
The Predators claim that Ryan Kesler bent over to hold Nashville captain Shea Weber’s stick in his belly, drawing a hooking call in overtime that set up his game-winning goal. Kesler’s first goal of the postseason came 60 seconds into the second period off a power play set up when Jerred Smithson moved his stick while in front of Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo, who snapped his head back.
Trotz said he watched several replays of the Weber penalty and thought Kesler embellished how much hooking actually took place. Trotz also looked at Smithson’s penalty and didn’t see a foul there either. The coach wasn’t happy Wednesday.
The Canucks disagree and say both calls legitimate penalties. Luongo said the complaints are part of hockey. The goalie said there was contact with his mask, even though the stick doesn’t appear to hit Luongo’s mask on replays.
Weber will only say it’s unfortunate the game ended with a call like that, though he also said the Predators didn’t deserve to win. The Predators were outshot 47-30 and went 0 of 3 on the power play that generated so few shots their own fans alternately yelled at them to shoot and later booed.
Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault is steering clear when it comes to officiating. His Canucks finally broke through with the man advantage against the Predators. The Canucks now are 2 of 10 in the series and 3 of 26 overall this season against Nashville after having the league’s best power play in the regular season.
The Canucks might be working harder to draw penalties, but Vigneault said they focus on the game and on playing.
It is that kind of focus that has gotten them wins in this series and made them the best team in the NHL. It’s this kind of focus that will get a win in this game.
NHL Stanley Cup Pick: Vancouver Canucks
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