Quick Opinion: 2-1, Nashville over Vancouver

Wherein I apparently defend Carter Hutton and the Nashville Predators in general.

Hutton is not a bad goaltender. His stats may say otherwise, but he’s pretty dang good under the right circumstances. And even under the not-right circumstance he’s been known to make some amazing saves (please see Carter Hutton Amazing Save Dot Gif from the Philly game. And it’s brother Carter Hutton Amazing Save2 Dot Gif from the Dallas game.)

Hutton’s won his last 4 starts. He had 2 games on, 1 game where Dubnyk played and then 2 more games. Previous to these 5 games, Hutton’s last start was back on January 5, a 2-1 loss to the Hurricanes. He’s not just some random backup, he’s a legit NHL goaltender who has experienced some growing pains that were to be expected given the situation he was in.

The Nashville Predators are not a bad team. Are they Cup contenders? Probably not. They’re not necessarily an excellent team. However, they’re pretty good at pulling off wins when you least expect it. (See: wins over the Sharks and Kings in November, December, & January and the 7-2 trouncing they gave the Blackhawks in November.)

So, the Canucks should feel no shame in not scoring a million goals on this team (like they have in the past). The Canucks were out played and out hustled, especially in the third period. They looked a mess, and I now more than ever believe that there’s more than one person playing hurt (Richardson, I’m looking at you.)

Kesler never really got going – I’m not sure if it’s because of linemates or something else. I made the statement on twitter that the Canucks looked discombobulated and it seems to fit as much as ever. It was a good start for the Canucks and a not-great start for the Predators but as they game went on, the Preds got tighter while the Canucks loosened up and started making mistakes.

Stanton came back with a bang and continued to impress me. Never, ever leave us again, please. He definitely settles Bieksa down and I know at one point it felt like there was a ‘ah, you’re back, Imma go play forward now’ moment from Bieksa. Bieksa and Stanton mesh very well together.

But, as always, I was most impressed with Tanev. I don’t know if anyone realized it, but the Tanev-Hamhuis pairing quietly shutdown the offensive force of Weber-Josi, who are known for jumping into play and scoring goals. So there’s that. Or maybe it was just Tanev blocking everything that looked like it had might have a chance to go through (boys, please don’t step in front of Weber or Josi slapshots. You may die.)

As I expected, Del Zotto didn’t end up with Ellis, but with Jones. I… didn’t hate it? There were a couple good plays, especially in the third period, where I went “This could work.” Small sample size, I need to see more before I make a full judgement. I still wouldn’t mind seeing a Weber-Jones, Josi-Del Zotto configuration.

All in all, I expected the Canucks to come out with two points from this and they didn’t. However, it wan’t the goonery of the last few games, we seem to have settled back down. If we can just regain our jump and hustle, get a few more people back from IR (come on JSchroeds. Do good with the Comets!), I’ll be much more satisfied.

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