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Chris Higgins #20 of the Vancouver Canucks handles the puck while being chased by Shane O'Brien #55 of the Nashville Predators during the second period in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 30, 2011 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Rich Lam/2011 Getty Images)
Chris Higgins #20 of the Vancouver Canucks handles the puck while being chased by Shane O'Brien #55 of the Nashville Predators during the second period in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 30, 2011 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Rich Lam/2011 Getty Images)

Globe on Hockey

Canucks postmortem Add to ...













There was plenty of joy, but perhaps more relief after Vancouver's 3-2 overtime victory over the Nashville Predators in Game 3 Tuesday.



The Canucks were once again the superior team, yet once again they trailed. Once again they had a late goal force overtime. And once again, they were a hare's breath from a demoralizing defeat.



Instead, they have a 2-1 series lead and a chance to take a firm grasp on the conference semi-final Thursday in Game 4.



Some more impressions on Game 3...



Vancouver



U-S-A, U-S-A



In a week filled so filled with patriotism, the two best players in Game 3 were American. Ryan Kesler, from Livonia, Mich., and Chris Higgins, from Smithtown, N.Y., potted all three goals and dominated all three zones.



Henrik Sedin



The Canucks claim he is not injured, but he sure isn't well. He missed a shift late in the game and seemed to be bothered by a leg. Earlier in the series, he took a slash on the left hand or wrist.



Nashville



Work ethic



Where did it go? They've been outhustled in two of three games so far, and the Predators simply aren't talented enough to beat Vancouver if that continues.



Statistically speaking



The Preds were awful. They had nearly as many shots blocked or miss the target (26) as they had on goal (30). They gave away the puck 18 times, and they won just 45 per cent of the face-offs.

 

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