May 1, 2011

Predators Win a Thriller

By - Kris Fletcher

Last night at Chili's over a few beers, some skillet queso and hot wings, a buddy and I watched a great playoff hockey game between the Nashville Predators and Vancouver Canucks.

Now I'll admit, hockey isn't my favorite sport, but after what I saw last night it's quickly growing on me.

The Canucks had won Game 1 of the series 1-0, so it was fairly important for the Predators to earn a split heading back to Nashville for Game 3, rather than be down 0-2 to the top-seed in the conference.

With a little over a minute remaining in regulation, it looked like that might very well end up being the case. Vancouver led 1-0 and goaltender Roberto Luongo had been brilliant all night, same as he had been in the Game 1 win.

As Nashville pulled goaltender Pekka Rinne to gain a man-advantage, defenseman Ryan Suter attempted a centering pass from behind the Canucks goal, but the puck banked off Luongo's skate and into the net to tie the game. I don't suppose it was the most glamorous way to send a game into overtime, but hey, it worked.

Photo by: Andy Clark
The two overtimes featured some great hockey by both squads, but it was Pekka Rinne that stole the show for the Predators. On several occasions the Canucks had point-blank opportunities to end the game, but time after time Rinne made brilliant saves to turn them away.

His most impressive had to be when he absolutely robbed Kevin Bieksa, who was set up by Daniel Sedin on a back-door play with two minutes left in the first overtime. Bieksa blasted a one-timer, but somehow Rinne dove across and snagged it, much to the chagrin of the Vancouver crowd. The twelve to fifteen people that were sitting in the bar area with us at Chili's seemed to like it though.

Photo by: Jeff Vinnick
As the bar began to clear and the clock neared midnight, Nashville finally pulled out the win. Five minutes into the second overtime the Preds forced a turnover in the Canucks zone, and Matt Halischuck beat Luongo high glove side to send the series back to Music City tied at a game apiece. It was a great way to cap off the evening, that is if you were pulling for Nashville anyway.

Afterward, I drove my friend to Wal-Mart where he had left his car earlier in the evening. We went in to grab a drink before going our separate ways, but of course there was only one register open and about thirty people waiting in line, so needless to say, we scratched the getting a Dr. Pepper idea and went home. Normally that type of stupidity would have rubbed me the wrong way, but I suppose the fact that we had just witnessed a great hockey game kinda took the edge off.

Game 3 is Tuesday, and I can honestly say I'm looking forward to it. Who knows, maybe we'll make a habit out of going to Chili's to watch some playoff hockey.

If nothing else, it gives me an excuse to get more skillet queso...


  1. Nice story. I thought the game was great. Hope the Preds can win the series.

  2. Game was awesome. I like your take on it.

  3. Game was a classic. I didn't watch it over beer and hot wings, but enjoyed it just the same.

    Nashville has a good chance to knock Vancouver out. Rinne has played great.

    I'm actually going to Game 3, so hopefully it will be as good as the first two games.