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NHL Playoff Recap: Are the Canucks too much for the Predators to handle?

Chris Higgins' goal stood up as the game-winner for the Canucks. (Getty Images)

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Chris Higgins' goal stood up as the game-winner for the Canucks. (Getty Images)

The NHL Playoff Recap gives you our take of what happened in each game of the night and what the consequences will be for the rest of the series.

We also provide our Three Stars of the night, which will be tabulated after each round and kept track of each day in our Playoff Game Day Preview. First Star is three points, Second Star is two points and Third Star is one point. Be sure to vote on who you think the first star was as well.

Of course there's the other side of the coin: The Black Hole is a piece of the lineup that just couldn't get it going on a given night and contributed to a difficult evening for the team.

GAME 1: CANUCKS 1, PREDATORS 0 - CANUCKS LEAD SERIES 1-0

THN’s Take: Even though Nashville was one of the highest-scoring teams in Round 1 you just knew that wasn’t going to continue. The Preds really had no business finishing only one goal behind the Canucks in this tilt and didn’t look anything like the team that knocked off Anaheim. Nashville’s saving grace was, you guessed it, goalie Pekka Rinne who looked at home while under a barrage of rubber. The Sedins were again held off the scoresheet, but Henrik recorded a key blocked shot in the dying seconds that pushed the puck out of the defensive zone. Hard forechecking and physical play in the defensive end contributed to a Canucks domination – if Nashville can’t bring a better attack this series will be over quickly. Right now, there is only one contender on the ice.

Three Stars
1. Pekka Rinne - Even though he lost, Rinne was the story and the best player on the ice. He recorded 29 saves and did all Nashville could have asked.

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2. Kevin Bieksa - Recorded the most ice time on the Canucks and made a nice play that led to an assist on the game’s only goal. Bieksa was easily the most physical player on the ice and made it impossible for Nashville to get any offensive zone pressure going.

3. Roberto Luongo – He wasn’t tested often, but Luongo looked in control when he was pressured. Nashville needs to get more traffic to frustrate Luongo if they are to have any hope.

The Black Hole
Martin Erat – Nashville’s leading scorer returned to the lineup, so an injury may have been slowing him down, but Erat didn’t record a shot and was minus-1 in 18:42 of ice time. Because offense will be hard to come by, Erat needs to be the guy to step up and create it.

POLL: Who was your first star of the game?

The NHL Game Night Recap will get you caught up with all the playoff action. THN will name our Three Stars for each game and tabulate the results after each series. First Star = three points, Second Star = two points, Third Star = one point.

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