It would have been very easy for the Canucks to lose Game 1 to Nashville.
Tired legs. Emotionally exhausted. Lack of focus.
There were several red flags heading into the opening act against the Predators, which came just 48 hours after a series win over Chicago. But the Canucks got through a danger game, and more importantly, they didn't allow their opponent to get any momentum thanks to 1-0 victory, and an airtight defensive performance.
These are the cardiac Canucks, of course, so much could still go wrong. But for the moment, Vancouver has a chance to put Nashville in a real hole with a home-ice victory in Game 2.
Some other impressions on Game 1...
Mason Raymond - He looked like a hopeless cause earlier in these playoffs, when he was playing on the third line or, worse yet, out of position at centre. But reunited with Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows, Raymond's speed is once again a factor, and he showed plenty of jam in Game 1 against the Predators.
Giveaways - They got away with them, but 13 is too many against a team that thrives on giveaways. Nashville is going to patiently wait for Vancouver to make mistakes, but they can't happen by the baker's dozen.
Forwards - Head coach Barry Trotz skewered them for a no-show in Game 1. They combined for just 13 shots, and nobody had more than two. They were dominated in the face-off circle, winning just 26 of 61 draws, and other than a Mike Fisher breakaway, they didn't generated chances.
Pekka Rinne - It was the type of performance (29 saves) that deserved better, and makes you wonder if he has game-stealing, or series-stealing, potential as this dance moves along. The Canucks shot too often at his strong glove hand, but Rinne also made some unconventional saves when he was down and almost out.