Canucks Win Western Conference With 3-1 Victory Over Predators

By Amanda DiPaolo

Two of the NHL’s best defensive teams went head to head Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena when the Vancouver Canucks took on the Nashville Predators. The Canucks came out on top 3-1 on the strength of two third period goals from Alex Burrows.

With the win, Vancouver  officially won the Western Conference. The win was also the ninth straight road win for the Canucks. The last time Vancouver lost in regulation on the road was to the Predators by a 3-1 score on February 17th.

The Predators opened the scoring with 5:59 left in the second period when Mike Fisher banged in the rebound off a Jon Blum shot. With Roberto Luongo out of position from the Blum shot, Fisher shot the puck into the empty net on the glove side of Luongo. Sergei Kostitsyn picked up the other assist.

“It was just a good play by Sergeir [Kostitsyn] on the wall,” Fisher said describing his goal, adding, “He got the puck to the net and just the rebound came out to me. I just put it in the net.”

The goal was Fisher’s 18th of the season, his fourth as a Predator.

Nashville lost the lead early in the third period. Behind the net, Daniel Sedin found Henrik Sedin just a couple feet over beside Pekka Rinne. Sedin found Alex Burrows who scored from the slot at 1:17 of the final frame.

Just before the 11 minute mark of the third period, the Predators had a chance to take the lead when Martin Erat was sent in alone, shorthanded, on Luongo with Jon Blum in the box for holding. Erat

Alex Burrows picked up his second goal of the night with just under 2:30 left in regulation to give the Canucks the 2-1 lead. Henrik and Daniel Sedin moved the puck out of the Canucks zone and onto the stick of Burrows behind the Predators defense. Burrows broke in all alone on Rinne and beat the Finnish netminder for the lead.

“If we get to within three minutes of a point, we’ve got to make sure we get that point. Worry about the second point after that. That’s the biggest disappointment — you play 57 minutes of the game and don’t get a point,” Head Coach Barry Trotz about giving up the game winning goal.

Nashville tried to tie the game up but with Rinne pulled, Vancouver defenseman Aaron Rome scored his first goal of the season.

Captain Shea Weber “It’s tough. Those were some big points, but there’s nothing we can do now. We played 40 good minutes, and we’ve got to move forward,” he said.

Nashville now goes to Denver to take on Colorado on Thursday night. Game time is 8pm. The next Predators home game is Saturday afternoon at 2 pm when the Detroit Red Wings make their final stop in Smashville.

Additional game notes:

Nashville only had two shots on goal in the third period.

The Predators and Canucks traded power play opportunities in the first period, and each team was called for two penalties in both the second and third periods, but both penalty killing units were up to the challenge, proving again why the Canucks and Predators are two of the best teams defensively.

Predators fans had an early scare in the game. Sergei Kostitsyn was sandwiched between Kevin Bieksa and Jeff Tambellini. Kostitsyn went to the dressing room with 13:09 left in the first period, but luckily for Nashville, he was back on the ice by the midway mark of the first period.

The Predators had a tribute on the jumbotron for Dan Hamhuis. Hamhuis who started his career with the Predators, signed as a free agent with the Vancouver Canucks last summer.  The British Columbia native did not play Tuesday night. On Sunday afternoon, Hamhuis suffered his second concussion of the season when Vancouver played the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.

Photo: AP

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