Sure, in any seven-goal game you’re going to see some fluke goals. Like P.K. Subban half-whiffing on a giveaway one-timer and the goalie never seeing the knuckling shot; or Subban scoring from center ice; or Filip Forsberg banging in a centering pass off a Canuck’s skate.
“When you get some goals that go in the net the way they did, it is going to take some confidence away from your group,” Vancouver coach Travis Green said of the 7-1 loss home loss to Nashville. “That’s human nature and that’s not easy to stop.”
But in addition to the weird ones, you’re also bound to see some excellent plays. And that’s what we’re here to celebrate, not the comical failures of Vancouver’s back end.
Well, okay, Vancouver’s sloppiness set both these up. But they’re still impressive! Yes, it’s a little inexplicable to let two forwards in behind the defense, even while up a man. But Roman Josi’s home run pass, which he took an extra second to size up rather than just make the shorthanded clear, was a beauty. Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson got the 2-on-0, and that’s unsaveable.
The Predators finished things off with a magnificent bit of puckhandling from Forsberg, who jumped the passing lane for the takeaway, and undressed Derrick Pouliot before finding a helmet-less Calle Jarnkrok for the easy finish.
You’ve got to feel a little bad for Anders Nilsson, who allowed all seven goals on a whopping 48 shots. But that’s the way things are going for the Canucks right now, who after a surprising start have been beset by injuries and have lost four straight.
The Preds, meanwhile, have gotten the chance this year to show off their depth. Twenty-one skaters have played at least 15 games, second most in the league, and they just took five of six possible points during the absence of top-line center Ryan Johansen. Defenseman Ryan Ellis, recovering from offseason knee surgery, could be back within a month. And yet Nashville is second in the Central (two points back of St. Louis) and third in the West (one point back of L.A.), with two games in hand on each. This is, by just about every measure, a better team than the one that made a cinderella run to the finals last year.