Vancouver came into Music City and played a perfect road game, putting Nashville’s six-game win streak to bed with a 3-1 win on Tuesday. Alex Burrows scored twice in the third period, which helped the Canucks clinch the top seed in the Western Conference.
Burrows lifted the Canucks to a franchise-record ninth consecutive road win. Henrik and Daniel Sedin picked up a pair of assists, as well.
The two teams skated to a scoreless first 20 minutes, just like every other game in their season series. Ryan Kesler had a chance to get the Canucks on the board early as Pekka Rinne was out of position, but Kevin Klein blocked his attempt. Both clubs traded power plays, but neither could convert.
For the first 14 minutes of the second, it was much of the same. The Predators’ penalty kill stepped up and killed two Canucks power plays early, but couldn’t capitalize on a chance of their own.
Mike Fisher broke the scoreless tie at 14:01 of the period with his third goal in the last two games. Sergei Kostitsyn’s shot hit Jonathon Blum’s skate in front and ricocheted right to Fisher, who wristed the puck past a sprawling Roberto Luongo.
“It was just a good play by Sergei [Kostitsyn] on the wall,” Fisher said. “He got the puck to the net and just the rebound came out to me.”
It was an even period of play, but the Canucks managed to outshoot the Preds 11-5 in the frame. With that said, Vancouver was dominant in the third. In the first ten minutes, they outshot Nashville 9-1 and tied the game with Burrows’ 23rd goal of the season at 1:17 of the period.
The Canucks kept that momentum and continued to control the pace, holding a 14-2 shot advantage for the duration of the period. Just when the Preds were starting to sustain pressure, Burrows potted his second goal of the night on a breakaway, courtesy of a perfect breakout pass from Daniel Sedin.
“The disappointing part is that we were on our heels for most of the third period,” Coach Barry Trotz said. “But we started to stabilize the game as the period was winding down. I thought we were in pretty good shape to at least get a point, get it to overtime.”
Vancouver’s comeback was capped off by Aaron Rome’s empty net goal, his first of the season. Luongo made 16 saves on the night, while Rinne stopped 29 shots and was pressured in the second half of the game.
Nashville’s penalty kill was one of the only reasons the team stayed in the game. They were forced to kill off five Canucks power plays, which, needless to say, is the top unit in the league. However, the Preds had five opportunities with the man advantage, and Fisher noted that it was tough to get into a flow.
“When that happens, maybe some lines don’t play as much and you don’t get your flow,” he said.
“You can’t sit in the penalty box and you can’t take minors,” Trotz said of tonight’s penalties. “Tonight our penalty kill did an excellent job.”
In the four games that these two played against each other, the Canucks scored just six times, which could be a silver lining from the loss and a confidence-builder, in case they meet in the playoffs.
The lost point (or two) is a tough pill to swallow for the Preds, but they can’t afford to hit the skids this week. They travel to Colorado on Thursday before taking on Detroit on Saturday.
“It’s looking [like] you’re gonna need 98 points to get in,” Cody Franson said. “So you can’t dwell on [the loss] too much. We’ve had some good games recently and won some games, so we have to look at that and try to bounce back as quick as possible.”