By Amanda DiPaolo
The Nashville Predators beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-1 to remain tied for fourth in the Western Conference with the San Jose Sharks, also winners Thursday night. It was just the 4th time in the last 30 games that Vancouver lost in regulation.
Fisher, after coming back from having his face stitched up (Photo: AP)
The Predators battled through a number of injuries Thursday night. Just nine minutes into the game Mike Fisher took a puck to the face off a shot by Ryan Suter. He was out the rest of the first period but came back for the final two periods of action.
Just under 5 minutes into the middle frame, Marcel Goc was hit awkwardly into the boards by Vancouver defenseman Sami Salo and left the game with an upper-body injury.
Steve Sullivan also left the game when he was hit with a puck that was shot by David Legwand and was deflected right into his face with 7:22 left to play in the second period.
Sullivan was taken to the hospital for precautionary tests.
The Predators took the 1-0 lead when Marty Erat took a shot on Luongo and followed through on his own rebound, roofing the puck over the Canadian Olympian at 14:13. It was Erat’s 10th goal of the season. David Legwand and Shea Weber picked up the assists.
The Predators were called for five minor penalties, giving the Canucks 10 minutes of pwer play time. Vancouver has the number one power play in the League, but the Predators were able to kill off four of the five. The Canucks finally connected on the man advantage to tie the game with JP Dumont in the box serving a bench minor for too many men on the ice. Daniel Sedin took the feed from his brother Henrik and beat Rinne with a wrist shot from the right circle with only 1:45 left in the period
Rinne said it was frustrating to have so many calls go against his team, but the penalty kill units were able to do their job. “They have an extremely good power play. They got one tonight, but I think other than that our penalty kill did a great job. It’s been one of our keys for the whole season.”
Just seven seconds after Sedin scored, Nick Spaling picked up his fifth goal of the season. Spaling backhanded the puck from a shot that Hornqvist took off the boards.
Coach Trotz said the shift after the Sedin goal was a turning point in the game. “They scored to tie it up, but responding on that first shift was huge, with the rebound and Spaling getting a goal. We’ve talked about maintaining momentum, and not long after, Fisher got a tip-in.”
Mike Fisher scored his first goal as a Nashville Predator when he tipped in a shot Alexander Sulzer took from the point just 47 after Spaling scored.
There was no scoring in the third period.
Luongo thought the Canucks played a pretty good game, but that Nashville capitalized on the mistakes Vancouver did make. “Unfortunately, the break downs that we did have, cost us. These guys are not the type of team that will give up many goals,” Luongo said, “for awhile, I thought we were headed like the first game in Vancouver at 0-0. All of a sudden we had a few break downs and they scored. These are the types of games we are going to be involved in and we want to make sure we limit the mistakes as much as possible.”
Nashville now takes on Phoenix on Saturday. The Coyotes are first in their division with 71 points, one point better than Nashville’s 70. The game starts at 7 pm at Bridgestone Arena. Tickets are still available.
Additional Game Notes:
At one point in the first period, Chelsea Dagger, the Chicago Blackawks goal song played over the speaker system. The chorus of boos that emerged as a result was almost defeaning.
The Canucks are really hurting on defense with several regulars on the blue line out of the lineup including Kevin Bieksa, former Predator Dan Hamhuis, Keith Ballard, Andrew Alberts.
The Nashville faithful again saluted their team with a tv timeout standing ovation. It is the fourth of the season. The Predators remain undefeated when Smashville cheers for the entire 90 second break.
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