So far, the Predators are 1-1 on the trip and were looking to re-establish their momentum after dropping their last game at Calgary.
Pekka Rinne was in net for the Predators, while the Canucks had Eddie Lack between the pipes.
Once again, the Predators special teams proved they are not so special. With Shea Weber in the box, Alex Edler fired a shot off the cross bar that hit Rinne in the back and bounced into the net at 11:10 of the first period.
Hey, maybe the Predators special teams are kinda special after all. With the Canucks serving a too many men on the ice penalty, Fillip Forsberg flipped a puck that was going wide of the net but it hit the skate of Dan Hamhuis and ricocheted past Lack to tie the game at 1 at 1:38 of the second period.
Although the remainder of the second period was scoreless, the Predators brought the attack to the Canucks. They out shot the Canucks 11-3 and kept the play in the Canucks zone for most of the period.
The roles of the teams reversed as the third period opened, with the Canucks attacking the Predators and forcing them back on their heels. They opened the period out shooting the Predators 7-2 through the first 6:30.
The Predators swung momentum back their way when James Neal made a strong drive to the net and put a shot on Lack. Lack couldn't control the rebound and Forsberg, who was in the slot, flipped the puck over the shoulder of Lack to make it 2-1 at 6:57 of the third. The goal was made possible by Neal using his strength and speed to get around Edler and make a strong move to the net.
Colin Wilson gave the Predators some breathing room as he sniped a shot short side over the shoulder of Lack to make it 3-1 at 18:17 of the third. The play was set up by a strong cycle in the corner from Forsberg.
That was it for the scoring as the Predators got back to playing a solid road game and skated away with the victory.
- Both teams were missing players due to suspensions handed out by the NHL. The Predators would be without Anton Volchenkov for four games, while the Canucks would not have the services of Alex Burrows for three games. This game was the first of the suspension period for each player.
- Victor Bartley saw his first action of the season on the blue line for the Predators, filling in for Volchenkov. Bartley was paired with Seth Jones on the second D pairing.
- Lord have mercy, Rinne had to make some great saves in the first period to keep the Canucks from blowing this game wide open.
- Today was Matt Cullen's 38th birthday.
- Filip Forsberg has incredible hockey sense. He can go to the tough areas and avoid most of the serious contact and is masterful at handling the puck. His first goal was lucky, but his second was a strong play. he drove the slot, picked up the rebound in close, and was able to elevate the puck over the shoulder of Lack. A veteran play that he- more importantly- finished.
- Gabriel Bourque has been held off the score sheet for most of the season. But after being a healthy scratch for several games, he has been inserted back into the lineup and is playing with a lot of jump. He brings speed and energy to his line, and hopefully he finds his scoring touch that he had his rookie season.
- Colin Wilson has quietly been playing some solid hockey. Head Coach Peter Laviolette moved him up and down the lineup tonight and it paid dividends. Wilson's goal was a thing of beauty, finding a very narrow space for the score.
- The Predators out shot the Canucks 33-27, recording 11 shots in each period. It is refreshing to see this team continuing to consistently push the play irrespective of the score of the game. Hopefully gone are the days where the Predators would go into the third period with a one goal lead and do nothing but sit back and play defense and hope Rinne could shut the door. I would imagine Rinne likes this style of play much better.
A nice rebound by the team after the loss to Calgary.
Now to keep the momentum going.
My three stars:
1. Filip Forsburg
2. James Neal
3. Pekka Rinne