Monday, May 9, 2011

Predators - Canucks Game Six Preview: The Task is Still One

When Predators coach Barry Trotz said "The task is one" after game four, the task was game five. The task is still one and now it is game six. The Predators and their fans are hoping that there will be a third task on Wednesday night in Vancouver but it all depends on what happens tonight at 7 p.m. at the Bridgestone Arena.

Pekka Rinne said Saturday's game was the biggest in franchise history. When asked about the team losing twice at home last week and how they do better he said. "I don't know if it works for us to have kind of an on the road mentality when playing at home."

"We just have to play better at home for our fans. We've been saying all season that it is a tough building to play in. We love playing in front of our fans but the last few games we can't be happy the way we've played at home so we have to really step it up. I'm sure we are going to see the best from Vancouver"

David Legwand was very business-like in his approach to game six, "Last night (Saturday) was exciting but now we come back here and our backs are still against the wall so we need to win another one at home."

Joel Ward was the star of game five, scoring two goals including the game winner and is now tied for the lead in playoff goals with seven. He was clear on what needs to be done to win game six, "If we can limit our mistakes we can have a good chance of winning. Staying out of the box and playing five on five is definitely better for us."

Ward continued, "Hopefully that was our statement game that we can take the momentum back with us. We are looking forward to playing in front of our home crowd and give them a little better show than the first two games.I don't know who has more pressure. We're just going to go out there and play our game."

As far as his goal scoring outburst, Ward has no explanation, "I'm just trying to keep it simple. There is no secret. Yesterday I did get a couple of better goals and was fortunate to make some good contact on the one goal from Fisher but it's just been going in front of the net and looking for rebounds and tips and try to capitalize and finish my chances."

Barry Trotz discussed the plan for tonight's game, "What we did is what we want to continue to do. There are some things that we want to refine. We are going to go forward. They have activated people and we have activated people and that is how you open things up."

"I've been proud all year of what we've been able to do. A lot of difficult situations, if you will, where we could have had self pity and felt sorry but we didn't. Last night we didn't have any excuses or self pity. We are behind in this series and the only way to get out of it is to win a couple of hockey games."

So the consensus is that the team needs to play "Predator hockey" and move forward. There was no official word on Jerred Smithson's condition but Nick Spaling did return at the end of Saturday's game and is expected to play tonight.

My keys to a Predator win are similar to the last game:

1. Score early and often in order to play with a lead.
2. Put shots on net and go to the dirty areas for rebound opportunities.
3. Stay out of the box and focus on five on five hockey.

So there you have it. Be there and be loud and give the team your full support. win or lose. The team needs a good send off after the game regardless of the outcome since this could be the last game in Bridgestone Arena this year and this team has given the fans more that they have ever seen before.

The party on the plaza will begin at 4 p.m. and if you can find a ticket, buy it because there will be none to be had at a reasonable price outside the arena tonight. Fans will receive rally towels but no shirts which is probably a good thing since the team went 0-2 last week during the "gold outs."

The game will be seen on Fox Sports Tennessee locally with Pete and Terry on the call and on Versus nationally in the US and on the CBC in Canada.

Other previews come from Amanda DiPaolo, Mark WilloughbyMarc Torrence, Paul McCann, and

Here are tonight's complete Game Notes from NHL Media Services.

Check the list of Vancouver media links in the right column for previews from the Vancouver perspective.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOntheGlass

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