Sloppy win for Canucks

Canucks forward Daniel Sedin is checked by Predators defenceman Shea Weber from behind the net...

Canucks forward Daniel Sedin is checked by Predators defenceman Shea Weber from behind the net during Game 6 of their NHL Western Conference semifinal series in Nashville, Tenn., May 9, 2011. (M.J. MASOTTI/Reuters)

STEVE MacFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:29 AM ET

Aside from the gratuitous Carrie Underwood camera shots, it wasn't pretty.

But the Canucks are moving on.

Sloppy can describe both the ice surface at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville and much of the play during 60 minutes of ... yaaawwn ... playoff hockey in the elimination game between the Canucks and Predators Monday night.

"The ice is probably as bad as it looks," Vancouver defenceman Kevin Bieksa told Scott Oake during the second intermission.

Mucking out a 2-1 win in Game 6, the Canucks host either the Detroit Red Wings or San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference final.

In a hot and humid Music City, the visitors looked strong early on but were god-awful in a second period during which they took just two — yes, two! — shots at Preds 'tender Pekka Rinne.

Bieksa's strategy for the third paid off: "Shot, shot, shot-shot-shot-shot — shots," Bieksa spat with a straight face after the most abysmal 20 minutes of their spring so far.

They followed through, firing 10 shots in the final frame and not allowing the Predators to mount much of an attack until the last few seconds.

Much of that was due to the relentless forechecking of Ryan Kesler, who assisted on both first-period goals and was easily the star of the series with points on 11 of the 14 Canucks tallies.

The Predators coaches said as much as they shook hands.

"We couldn't stop you," are the words Barry Trotz and co. told Kesler after the game, according to the Canucks centre. "I really appreciate that. It's really humbling when you've got the other coaches telling you that."

Stops and starts

A couple of huge catfish were tossed onto the ice before the Predators-Canucks contest. The ice girl who scooped up one of the monsters showed no fear, either. "Fishy start to the night," said CBC's Glenn Healy, who should leave the bad puns to Ron MacLean ... The weather was so hot and conditions so bad in the Nashville rink, you had to wonder at first whether those catfish were caught on-site ... You know the diving has gotten completely out of hand when guys like Jordin Tootoo are going down like they've been shot ... Daniel Sedin scored his first of the series in the opening period, and it couldn't have been easier — a tap-in on the powerplay after Ryan Kesler deflected the puck in front of Pekka Rinne.

Between periods

Spring was in the air, if you were looking at Don Cherry's awful yellow floral-print jacket. The only saving grace was it featured a Bobby Orr patch. By pure coincidence — if you believe Cherry — Orr's memorable goal and flying celebration captured on camera took place exactly 41 years ago Monday night ... Hockey Night in Canada showed about 30 seconds of Pavel Datsyuk highlights during the first intermission. All of it was more captivating than anything that took place during the first period, even though there were two Canucks goals scored ... Cherry didn't like the Green Men getting personal with Mike Fisher and Shane O'Brien. It's the NHL's fault they have to resort to props since their handstands have been banned. Fisher didn't seem to mind them stroking the hair of his cardboard cutout wife Carrie Underwood ... Saw a Predators ice girl figure skating among the Zambonis between periods, just over Glenn Healy's shoulders. Hope she gets danger pay for that.

Dump and chase

It's weird seeing Sean Avery finally on the right side of a controversy. But when someone from Uptown Sports Management tweeted he was "sad to read" about Avery's "misguided support of same-gender marriage" it sparked bedlam in the Twitterverse, with people racing to Avery's side. Seems vice president of Uptown, Todd Reynolds, was the author, but he doesn't believe he's made things tough on his clients — including a very Christian Mike Fisher of the Nashville Predators ... Jeremy Roenick backtracked after calling former Sharks teammate Patrick Marleau's performance "gutless" Sunday night. Still said he was soft and had to be better, but admitted he used the wrong words. First time for everything, hey J.R.? ... Should be fun to see last spring's second-overall draft pick Tyler Seguin suit up for his first playoff game this week. Don't be surprised to see him shine.

Sweet tweets

"Carrie Underwood was crying. I feel bad so I will give her the title of her next country hit: 'My Man Lost at Hockey, but Won with Me'."

— TSN's Dan O'Toole (@tsnotoole)

"Is it that obvious when Roenick uses "Mr. Sedin" while diagramming a play that he has no fracking clue which one it is?"

— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski)

"Vintage hockey play-by-play phrase "He shoots ...He Scores",has now been replaced with "There's another bouncing puck in the Nashville zone"

— Sportsnet's John Shannon (@JSportsnet)

"There must be a Church of Datsyuk somewhere. Seriously."

— Dmitry Chesnokov (@dchesnokov)

"For all the gay couples now tweeting back inviting me to there weddings, I'll only consider if its an open bar at the reception. #Veteran"

— Paul Bissonnette (@BizNasty2point0)

"Always liked Don Reynolds @uptownhockey but if he or anyone in his firm was my agent, I'd find a new agent. Like right away"

— QMI's Steve Simmons (@simmonssteve) weighing in on the controversy

"Instead of answering questions on the Preds series, Mike Fisher will be answering questions on same sex marriage. THAT'S sad, @uptownhockey"

— THN's Adam Proteau @Proteautype)

steve.macfarlane@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/MacfarlaneSteve


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