Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

Halischuk provides OT heroics

Categories: Nashville Predators, Second Round, VAN vs. NSH, Vancouver Canucks

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Nashville Predators' Matt Halischuk, right, celebrates his game winning goal with teammate Jerred Smithson during the second overtime period of Game 2 against the Vancouver Canucks in Vancouver on Saturday. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press) Nashville Predators' Matt Halischuk, right, celebrates his game winning goal with teammate Jerred Smithson during the second overtime period of Game 2 against the Vancouver Canucks in Vancouver on Saturday. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)
By Tim Wharnsby, CBC Sports

VANCOUVER -- Matt Halischuk is a humble, soft spoken kid whose father works in the printing press plant for the Toronto Star newspaper.

The younger Halischuk is only 22 years old, but already has been written up in that newspaper and many others and many more websites to make his Papa proud.

The Nashville Predators right wing added another special moment to his young career when he deposited a shot past Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo with five minutes and nine seconds left in the second extra period to give his team a 2-1 victory and knot the second-round series at 1-1 with Game 3 in Nashville on Tuesday.

Three years ago, Halischuk was on a roll. He scored the overtime winner for Canada in the gold-medal final of the 2008 world junior championship and five months later checked in with for an incredible 21 goals in 25 junior postseason games to help lead his Kitchener Rangers to the Memorial Cup final.

The Rangers wound up losing in the final to the Spokane Chiefs, but that spring was magical for Halischuk. Here he was three years later, getting it done for the Predators again. This is the kid after all who Predators general manager David Poile acquired in the trade that sent team captain Jason Arnott to the New Jersey Devils last summer.

He has been living in teammate Steve Sullivan's basement the past two months.

The Predators always seem to find these guys. On his game-winner, Halischuk took a pass from his former Kitchener Rangers teammate and current Predators forward Nick Spaling and ripped home a shot to become the latest Stanley Cup playoff hero.

Interesting, Predators head coach Barry Trotz contemplated a line-up change or two after his club's dreadful outing in the 1-0 series-opening loss last Thursday.

So Trotz had an extra forward in Colin Wilson go out for the warm-up. But in the end, the Predators coach decided to stick with Halischuk on the fourth line. He didn't play much, but on his eighth shift he was in the right spot off the rush to score one of the biggest goals in Predators history.

Afterwards, Halischuk refused to rank his two big overtime goals. Both moments were special, and his Dad will have another newspaper clipping to mark the occasion.