The Vancouver Canucks laughed at the idea that finishing off the Nashville Predators in as few games as possible was important.

But they're a step closer now, so we'll say it for them. It is.

Or let Barry Trotz, the Preds coach, who addressed the issue that the Canucks wouldn't touch, before Game 4.

"I think the veteran teams realize that the faster you get to four, the better," said Trotz, at the morning skate. "It gives you prep time, it gives you time for injuries to heal and sort of to reset ... because it is a grind.

"I'm good friends with Mike Babcock and Ken Hitchcock, and they've won Cups, and they all say if you get a chance to close out a series quick, you've gotta do it, because at some point it will come back and it will hurt you in some area."

Thursday night's 4-2 victory, the second consecutive game Ryan Kesler simply grabbed by the scruff of the neck and bent to his will, put Vancouver within closing distance of the San Jose Sharks, who are a win away from sweeping the Detroit Red Wings.

Of course, the very mention of the Sharks, when there's still the little matter of the Predators to contend with, would be bad karma of the worst sort. Still ...

"We obviously know it's 3-0 (for San Jose), but we're not even looking ahead," said Kesler, the speed and depth and breadth of whose game is just about breathtaking.

"We're focused on the game we're playing, because soon as we start worrying about that series is when we start losing games."

They've been there and done that already this spring, blowing a 3-0 lead to the Chicago Blackhawks and having to expend a lot of physical and emotional capital to reverse the flow in Game 7, and overtime at that.