In their fifth consecutive overtime game, the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Nashville Predators 4-3 in a shootout Tuesday night. Alexander Edler hit the game-winning goal for Vancouver, while Colin Wilson was unable to extend the game with a shot for the Predators.
The first period was full of missed opportunities for the Predators. Less than two minutes into the game, the Predators had two different point-blank attempts at Vancouver’s goal, but they could not convert. With just under four minutes gone by in the first period, Henrik Sedin took a slap-shot from Kevin Klein right in the ankle and went straight to the locker room (though he would return).
At 4:57 of the first period, Spaling got a steal in the scoring zone and would have been set up for an easy score, but he was tripped by Hodgson on Vancouver, which set up a running theme during the game for the Predators: power play failure. The first power play was possibly the best for the Predators, as they at least got three good shots.
Ryan Kessler, who drew the ire of Predators fans last spring for his dirty play in the playoffs, drew first blood with a power play goal (from a Brandon Yip slashing penalty) at 11:42.
Two minutes later, the Predators tied the game up with a shot by Colin Wilson that deflected off Roberto Luongo’s catching arm and torso to slide in for the first Predators goal of the night.
With only 1:39 left, Byron Bitz scored for Vancouver, giving them a 2-1 advantage, and less than 30 seconds later, Daniel Sedin pushed the lead to 3-1 heading into the second period. Nashville managed to outshoot Vancouver 16-11 in the first period, and yet they found themselves trailing 3-1.
It would have been easy for the Predators to pack it in and check out of this game in the second, being down two goals to the second best team in the Western Conference. But Nashville just doesn’t have that mentality; the Predators came out firing, looking to make plays on the ice. Just seconds in to the period, Ryan Suter had a shot go just off the pipe to miss. Soon after, Klein would take a shot that would deflect off Sergei Kostitsyn’s skate to pull the game within 3-2 (the play was reviewed, but fortunately the ruling on the ice stood).
At the 5:16 mark, Shea Weber took a shot from the point and didn’t put quite as much mustard on it as he normally does, and at some point it must have deflected off Mike Fisher, because when the shot ended up going in, it was officially credited to Fisher, which tied the game at 3-3. The best part was that it didn’t go in on its own, but Luongo actually kicked the puck in himself.
Although being a point of mockery for Nashville fans, Luongo actually made some really good saves in the game, including one on a power play shot by Colin Wilson after the Canucks were called for a delay of game. Luongo did a high kick into the air to prevent the puck from getting into the net.
Alex Burrows got called for hooking when he shoved Shea Weber into the Predators’ goal at 1:38, which set up what was probably the most disappointing power play of the night for the Predators. Throughout the two minute power play that extended from the end of the second period into the beginning of the third period, Nashville did not manage a single shot on goal. Even worse, they struggled to even get the puck in the scoring zone, even being called for icing at one point. Embarrassing.
The third period did not feature any scoring, but there were great saves by Rinne and Luongo, as well as an impressive point-blank stop by Shea Weber, preventing Vancouver from taking the go-ahead score. Ultimately, the Predators had an attempt to end the game right at the buzzer, but nobody could get a decent shot.
In overtime, the Predators did manage to outshoot the Canucks, including a great shot by Weber that got snatched by Luongo, but ultimately neither team scored, which led to the abomination known as the shootout.
The first four guys up, two from each team, missed in the shootout (Raymond, Kostitsyn, Kessler, Erat) before Alex Burrows got the first shootout goal for Vancouver. David Legwand was able to extend the game for the Predators with his goal on Luongo.
Daniel Sedin, in his first shootout attempt of the season, was stopped by Rinne. Mike Fisher was stopped by Luongo, making him 0-4 in shootouts as a Predator. Cody Hodgson had his shot attempt go off the pipe, while Ryan Ellis, in his first NHL shootout attempt, missed with the backhand as Luongo read the play perfectly.
Alexander Edler scored what would be the game-winner when Colin Wilson couldn’t answer.
This game marked the end of an 11-game winning streak for Pekka Rinne, who had a mostly forgettable game (everyone is human I guess), although he did have a few great saves.
Nashville was 0-4 on the power play, while Vancouver was able to score on its only power play attempt. Vancouver is 2-1 against Nashville this season and the two teams will finish up their season series in two weeks.
The Predators will be in Ottawa to face the Senators on Thursday.