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Nashville Predators 3, Vancouver Canucks 6: Penalties; Killed.

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The Canucks scored five power play goals and an empty-net shorthanded goal to crush the Predators.

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Predators and Canucks both entered this game desperate for a win, having each lost seven of their last eight—the Canucks’ lone win came against the Preds earlier this month, while the Preds were able to defeat the Detroit Red Wings on the road. Both teams needed a win, but only one could get it. It would not be the one we wanted to get it.

The Preds got out to a decent start, not giving up a goal in the first eighteen seconds, or shift, or minute. Adam Gaudette took an early penalty for Vancouver and noted goal-scorer Nick Bonino came close to converting on the power play, but no joy. That said, the power play looked decent—there were skaters in motion in the center of the ice, and they got the Canucks’ penalty kill moving. Still, what they needed was a goal.

Pekka Rinne made a fantastic glove save on Tim Schaller, left all alone in front of the goal, on the first shot on goal he faced, seven minutes into the game. And so, a minute later, it was Ryan Johansen, on a breakaway, who passed the puck straight into the back of the net for the first goal of the game, and his first goal since early October.

The Preds had a good initial response to their goal, but then the Canucks got their top line out against the Preds’ third pairing and things were briefly a little too exciting. Still, Rinne was able to bail the rest of the team out again, and play continued. The Predators continued to press at the Canucks’ end, and the Canucks returned the favor with a frightening shift taken over by Brock Boeser, in which Rinne had to make a few very lucky-looking saves.

At approximately that point, Dante Fabbro decided to take a penalty, and Mattias Ekholm accidentally tipped a shot from Elias Pettersson while Colton Sissons was trying to shake off an earlier blocked shot.

Would it really be a Predators-Canucks game this season if the Canucks’ power play wasn’t converting at a 100% rate? Well, Mikael Granlund gave us a chance to find out, as he immediately took a high-sticking penalty, and...sure enough, Tyler Graovac scored.

With less than a minute left in the period, Alex Edler took a whack at Johansen, then hauled him down to the ice, and the Predators were back on the power play as the period ended. The intermission broke up whatever momentum they had begun to build, and they were not able to tie the game back up. Mikael Granlund had a couple of phenomenal chances, but Jacob Markström shut the door on him both times, because Granlund just cannot buy a goal right now.

Schaller was called for slashing Rinne, though on replay it looks like he hit Rinne with Roman Josi instead of with his own stick, and some hostilities almost broke out. The Preds contained their anger, though, and got the power play as Schaller was called for the only penalty. After some good looks, and as the Preds were effectively 5v3 with a Canucks player having a broken stick, Calle Järnkrok tied the game back up on that power play with a gorgeous shot off an equally gorgeous cross-ice pass from Granlund.

Craig Smith then took a penalty. For a brief, shining moment, as Mattias Ekholm took the puck all the way to the Canucks’ end of the ice and kept it there with some help from Nick Bonino, it seemed like the curse might be broken. Then J.T. Miller scored thanks to a deflection from Viktor Arvidsson.

With the Canucks up 3-2, Markström grabbed Filip Forsberg’s leg and held on for a while, with no call. Instead, the next penalty called was against the Predators, as Fabbro was called for slashing. Astonishingly, miraculously, the Predators were able to kill that one off, which I didn’t know was allowed.

Tyler Myers then proceeded to punch Forsberg, who has not been making friends this game, in the face. Forsberg hit the ice—it looked like he sold that a little, but he definitely did get punched in the face in the first place—and the Predators went back on the power play. However, they failed to score.

With a little under three minutes left in the second period, Arvidsson took a high-sticking penalty, and the Canucks went back on the power play. This goal was again scored by Miller, though Mattias Ekholm may have been the one to put it in. Mathieu Olivier immediately took another penalty, and Miller got his third of the night, possibly off of Ryan Ellis.

The Predators were booed off the ice going into the second intermission.

Juuse Saros led the Predators out for the third period as Rinne got the mercy pull. The Preds’ broadcast team confirmed that four of the Canucks’ five goals thus far went in off one of Rinne’s own teammates.

Järnkrok drew a penalty and Edler went back to the box, but the Canucks were able to kill the penalty without much effort. Fabbro wired one off the post; Dan Hamhuis, crashing the net, almost broke his scoring drought; Markström kept the door shut. However, about halfway through the period, Duchene scored to bring the Preds within two. Then the Canucks put too many men on the ice with 3:49 left in the game.

Halfway through the uninspiring and utterly static power play, the Preds pulled Saros for the extra attacker, which was an odd choice that didn’t pay off—with too little time to let the Predators build momentum, and just enough time to let the Canucks score an empty-netter, as Tanner Pearson did.

As the final buzzer sounded, the Preds’ skid continued.

Random Observations

  • It’s almost 2020 and Peter Laviolette is apparently still hoping the team can grit their way to winning. Check the puck into the net. Intimidate the opposition into turning around and shooting into their own goal.
  • Well, maybe they’ll score on the power play.
  • Maybe they’ll score at even strength?
  • RYAN JOHANSEN SHOT THE PUCK ON A BREAKAWAY
  • Johansen is looking for his second and we’re still barely a sixth of the way through the game.
  • Nice shift for Dante Fabbro too.
  • Play some defense.
  • No I didn’t mean that Fabbro should try to fight a dude and somehow end up taking a cross-checking penalty, I guess for a play preceding the tussle.
  • Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don’t forget your booties ’cause it’s cold out there today!
  • The Canucks scored on the power play again while I was still double-checking the Groundhog Day quote.
  • Maybe the Preds can also get in on some of this power-play-goal-scoring action?
  • Oh, it’s 80s night, that explains the goaltending.
  • Granlund broke a sack of mirrors after he stepped on a black cat’s tail while walking under a ladder.
  • Man that Järnkrok goal was gorgeous.
  • That Smith penalty though was uh
  • not gorgeous
  • not gorgeous at all.
  • I can’t even tell you how tempted I am to just immediately follow the announcement of Fabbro’s penalty with the announcement that the Canucks went up 4-2.
  • THE PREDATORS KILL A CANUCKS POWER PLAY. THE ISOTOPES WIN A GAME. I acknowledge that this is Adam Vingan’s bit but it’s so specific he probably doesn’t already have a gif.
  • I hope Forsberg did sell that punch, because the alternative would mean he got his brain rattled around a bit and stayed in the game anyway. Well, that or he just lost his balance, but that one seems less likely.
  • So killing the Fabbro slash was just the hope spot, huh?
  • Yep.
  • I can’t believe they’re making Rinne sit through this.
  • Oh good, they finally let him sit down and have the rest of the night off.
  • Someone explain score effects to the Preds’ broadcast team.
  • bad ping :(
  • Duchene scored that goal just to spite me after this morning’s article. Buddy, when you’re getting healthy-scratched for Lukas Craggs in two years, you’re going to regret that.
  • Seriously, this is Groundhog Day. Why are Canucks games always Groundhog Day?

OTF’s Super Duper Stars of the Night

  1. Pekka Rinne’s self-control and/or conscience
  2. nah
  3. Juuse Saros was okay.

Tweets of the Game