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Canucks finally shrug off Predators, reach West final

NASHVILLE — The Canucks have had plenty of practice this postseason when given the chance to eliminate an opponent. They finally found a way to make it look easy.

Daniel Sedin and Mason Raymond scored first-period goals, and Roberto Luongo made 23 saves Monday night as Vancouver beat the Predators 2-1 in Game 6 to advance to the Western Conference final.

The Canucks, who had the league's best record this season, reached the conference final for the first time since 1994 and faces the winner of the San Jose-Detroit series. The Sharks lead that series 3-2, with Game 6 to be played tonight in Detroit.

Vancouver is 2-4 this year with the opportunity to advance on the line, and 6-1 in its other playoff games. The Canucks squandered a 3-0 series lead against defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago in the first round before finally eliminating the Blackhawks in overtime of Game 7.

That gave the Canucks the chance to face Nashville, which reached the second round for the first time.

They made themselves comfortable on Nashville's ice, winning all three games there in the series. Vancouver was 1-2 at home in the series.

Raymond gave Vancouver the lead 7:45 into the game, and Sedin made it 2-0 just 1:43 later. Luongo did the rest for the Canucks, who were outshot 24-19. The Canucks recorded only nine total shots in the first two periods.

David Legwand's goal 3:31 into the second period cut Vancouver's lead to 2-1. The goal — Legwand's sixth of the postseason — stood up to a video review, but the Predators couldn't avoid elimination again.

After grabbing the early lead, the Canucks put the game away with defense. Nashville had 11 shots in the first period but only 13 over the final 40 minutes.

The Canucks got some help to get their offense rolling as Predators defenseman Ryan Suter turned over the puck to Ryan Kesler right next to the net. Kesler passed to Raymond, who backhanded a shot past goalie Pekka Rinne, who finished with 17 saves.

Sedin doubled the lead as Nashville's Jordin Tootoo served an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Canucks 2 0 0 2
Predators 0 1 0 1

First Period1, Vancouver, Raymond 1 (Kesler), 7:45. 2, Vancouver, D.Sedin 6 (Kesler, H.Sedin), 9:28 (pp). PenaltiesH.Sedin, Van (high-sticking), :50; Kesler, Van (goaltender interference), 4:33; Bieksa, Van (roughing), 4:33; Weber, Nas (roughing), 4:33; Tootoo, Nas (unsportsmanlike conduct), 8:52; Edler, Van (cross-checking), 11:25; Erat, Nas (tripping), 11:54; Higgins, Van (slashing), 16:11.

Second Period3, Nashville, Legwand 6 (Ward, Kostitsyn), 3:31. PenaltiesErat, Nas (interference), 8:09; Torres, Van (tripping), 17:43.

Third PeriodNone. PenaltiesNone. Shots on GoalVancouver 7-2-10—19. Nashville 11-7-6—24. Power-play opportunitiesVancouver 1 of 3; Nashville 0 of 5. GoaliesVancouver, Luongo 8-5-0 (24 shots-23 saves). Nashville, Rinne 6-6-0 (19-17). A17,113 (17,113). T2:35. Referees—Steve Kozari, Stephen Walkom. LinesmenGreg Devorski, Jean Morin.

Canucks finally shrug off Predators, reach West final 05/09/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 10, 2011 12:28am]
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