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NHL Playoff Recap: Predators not preparing Canucks for Western Conference final

Daniel Sedin and the Vancouver Canucks took both games in Nashville and hold a 3-1 series lead. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

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Daniel Sedin and the Vancouver Canucks took both games in Nashville and hold a 3-1 series lead. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/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. 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 4: CANUCKS 4, PREDATORS 2 – CANUCKS LEAD SERIES 3-1

THN’s Take: Not only would it benefit Vancouver to close out the series on Saturday for resting-up purposes, but also because if they don’t, they may slip into bad habits that will sting them a heck of a lot more against a team such as the San Jose Sharks. As good of a fight as the Predators have put up to stay close in these games, they don’t have the forwards who will take advantage of defensive mistakes often enough. A few times in Game 4, miscommunication and hastily made shots up the boards from Vancouver resulted in turnovers Nashville didn’t score on and rarely even registered a shot; they have forecheckers, but no finishers. Of course, the Canucks would also like to end this series Saturday to put an exclamation mark on the win and not have it drag out unnecessarily. While the Sharks have shown a lot of resolve through their early run, the Canucks have been the decided heavyweight in both their matchups, but haven’t asserted themselves as such. A decisive win in Game 5 would go a long way to prepare them for the much more difficult task ahead. And let’s be real here, this series is done - it’s just a question of when.

Three Stars
1. Ryan Kesler - Loudly making a case for his Conn Smythe candidacy should the Canucks go to the limit. His winning goal was a thing of beauty created from hard work and his two assists on top gave him his second three-point game in a row. Look out, Kesler is playing with swagger now.

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2. Christian Ehrhoff - His 20:37 of ice time was the lowest he contributed since Game 3 of the Blackhawks series, but Ehrhoff made each one of them count. He had his second multi-point game in a row, posting a goal and two assists and made a few good pinch decisions and excellent shot blocks.

3. Joel Ward - Some love is deserved for the Preds’ hardest worker in Game 4, who came away with a goal and an assist.

The Black Hole
Sergei Kostitsyn - For the second game in a row this disappearing act has earned unwanted attention. Again most of the Nashville attack is to blame, but Kostitsyn leads the way with his measly one shot on goal. What’s telling about how little he’s done is that when the Preds were down one with the goalie pulled in the dying seconds, Kostitsyn was on the bench while Colin Wilson, a scratch all playoffs, was on the ice.

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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