Tempers flared in Monday night’s game between the Predators and Canucks, where the visiting Canucks skated to a 5-2 win. In total, six different Predators spent time in the sin bin. Between the two teams, 60 penalty minutes were handed out.
No other altercation caused as much a stir as Hal Gill and Alex Burrows did in the second period.
With the game tied at 2-2, Gill and Burrows were shoving each other behind the Predators net. As the play continued, Burrows took every opportunity to slash at the legs of Gill. Eventually, Gill shoved Burrows to the ground, and the 6-foot-7 defenseman was called for roughing.
“I don’t mind him slashing me, and hacking me, and spearing me,” Gill explained. “I can handle that, as long as I am allowed to push back.”
Gill’s roughing penalty at 16:56 of the middle frame was the only penalty assessed on the play.
On the ensuing power play, the Canucks scored to retake the lead just six seconds into the man advantage. Henrik Sedin won the faceoff, passed the puck to his brother Daniel, who then sent it to defenseman Jason Garrison. The bullet from the point beat netminder Pekka Rinne for the eventual game winner at 17:02 of the period.
“I was a little upset that they’d make a call one way or another,” Gill said. “Usually, you get called for both guys. You don’t usually take one guy, so I wasn’t happy about that, but it’s fun to go out and battle.”
“I looked at that,” Predators head coach Barry Trotz said about the penalty. “Just because Hal [Gill] is such a big guy doesn’t mean you have to chop down the tree about eight times, which is what Burrows was trying to do.”
“To be honest, I just kind of pushed him. The puck was in front of the net. He was in front of the net. I just pushed him down. I’m not too happy with that call,” Gill added.
Predators captain Shea Weber also took issue with the one-sided nature of the penalty on Gill.
“Obviously, it is [the referee’s] discretion, but it seemed like they were battling that whole shift. Seems like [Burrows] got a whack on the goalie. Hal was just sticking up for the goalie. Obviously, they had the last call and he saw what he saw,” he said.
Following Garrison’s goal, the Canucks added two more tallies in the third period. Burrows picked up his 13th goal of the season just 50 seconds into the third period to give the Canucks a 4-2 cushion. Ryan Kesler added his second of the game at 15:53. Derek Roy was the other Canucks goal scorer.
The Predators received goals from Nick Spaling and Bobby Butler.
With the loss, the Predators officially were eliminated from playoff contention.