VANCOUVER -- It was a sense of déjà vu Saturday night as the final buzzer sounded on a Nashville Predators' 4-3 victory at Rogers Arena. For the second time in these playoffs, the Vancouver Canucks were unable to close out a series on home ice in Game 5.
Vancouver had an identical opportunity just 17 days ago, when they led the Chicago Blackhawks 3-1 with Game 5 at Rogers Arena, but was blanked 5-0. The Canucks went on to lose Game 6 at the United Center in Chicago, only to come home and win Game 7 in overtime.
"Hopefully we've learned our lesson here," said defenseman Dan Hamhuis, who had an assist in the loss. "We don't want to do that. We don't want to extend it that far. We're looking to get the job done in Game 6."
The Canucks have historically struggled in Game 5 situations when up 3-1. Vancouver now has a 4-5 record with its last Game 5 series clincher coming in May of 1994 – the last time it reached the Stanley Cup Final.
The Presidents' Trophy winners are now 0-4 dating back to a 2003 series with the Minnesota Wild when they have the opportunity to finish things off in Game 5. They've been out-scored 17-5 in those losses.
Captain Henrik Sedin admitted his frustration with the inability to finish teams off when they have the opportunity.
"I thought we played good enough to do it, but we're in the games … we battled hard to get a lot of chances," he said. "When we're in the games we know one goal is going tie it up – we just got to be patient."
Added Hamhuis: "We just got to have more of a killer instinct I think in these elimination games. We didn't do it against Chicago, and we didn't do it again tonight."
With the win, the Predators improved to 2-6 in a Game 5. Their first Game 5 win came in their first-round series with the Anaheim Ducks.
Joel Ward and David Legwand each had a pair of goals in the win, while Pekka Rinne made 31 saves in the victory.
"It's so much fun right now," said Rinne. "These are the games you live for. You practice hard all year long and we still get to play -- it feels great. It's the best time of the year, for sure."
For the Canucks, the Sedins continued to struggle as they combined for seven shots and failed to find the back of the net. They were a minus-7 in the loss and are now minus-11 through the five games against the Preds.
"If you look at the goals, it's not good, but if we had turned the puck over 10 times it would've been hard to swallow," Henrik Sedin said. "We know we have to score and that's the bottom line. We had enough chances again tonight to do it. We got to go back to Nashville and get some goals."
Added Alain Vigneault: "I expect our whole group to be better, obviously there's a couple of our players that need to be better and we'll address that tomorrow with them."