Nashville Predators 4, Vancouver Canucks 2: Forsberg on fire in Saros’s 100th win

The man is going to get paid.

The Nashville Predators looked to rebound after a dispiriting loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night. Their opponent: the Vancouver Canucks.

The Preds got out to a better start, putting some shots toward the net and getting some zone time before they went on the power play after Mikael Granlund drew a penalty. While the Preds’ power play threatened, they were unable to convert. Still, they kept pressing the attack after the power play ended.

Unfortunately, the Canucks’ first offensive look of the game—almost eight minutes into the period—took the Preds off guard, and while Juuse Saros made the initial saves, Matthew Highmore was able to score after a giveaway.

Although the Preds tried to retaliate, they struggled to sustain an attack before Tanner Jeannot was called for roughing against Tanner Pearson. However, the Preds’ penalty kill got their skates under them properly, and Ryan Johansen scored his thirteenth of the season to tie the game 1-1. While the goal was officially scored at even strength, Johansen’s play to get the puck and take it up ice happened shorthanded.

Right after that—just over a minute—Filip Forsberg tipped a Philippe Myers point shot to give the Preds a 2-1 lead. Another Preds rush when the Canucks got possession after the center-ice faceoff almost lead to another goal, but Mattias Ekholm shot wide.

Then Oliver Ekman-Larsson, dissatisfied with the Canucks’ situation, collected the puck and took a long shot through traffic, which got past (or possibly deflected off of) multiple players in front of Juuse Saros, leaving the game tied 2-2 again. All this had occurred in a span of just over three minutes, from Johansen’s goal to Ekman-Larsson’s; the rest of the first period passed without further score.

Duchene started the second period by hitting a post, and Elias Pettersson matched that later on the same shift. J.T. Miller took an early slashing penalty, over 200 feet from his own net as he tried to get the puck back from Myers, and put the Preds back on the power play. This time, the Preds didn’t hesitate; Forsberg scored less than thirty seconds in on a long, clean shot.

The Preds, energized, pressed the attack for a little, before momentum shifted to the Canucks. With the help of the long change, the Canucks kept the pressure on for a drawn-out shift before the Preds were finally able to clear and replace the tired personnel on the ice.

Saros and Thatcher Demko both had to make some impressive saves—Forsberg had another chance, while the Preds gave up several odd-man rushes—which set the tone for most of the rest of the period, with the edge staying with the Canucks . With 1:23 remaining in the period, Brock Boeser was finally whistled for a trip of Forsberg, who got the puck back after getting taken down to the ice and hung onto it for several seconds in the delayed penalty before he was overwhelmed by sheer numbers.

The timing on the power play wasn’t great, and the Preds gave up possession early, unable to really get established—let alone convert—before intermission. The abbreviated 37-second power play in the third gave the Preds no success, but Tanner Jeannot scored on the next shift to make it 4-2 Preds.

The Canucks got another chance on the power play when, five and a half minutes into the period, Dante Fabbro took a slashing penalty. Again the Preds’ penalty kill was aggressive, and while the refs may have missed something as the Canucks tried to contain them, they were able to keep the Canucks from scoring and go on the attack again as time expired.

Myers was thrown into the net over Demko, but both players were fortunately fine, and the gave continued with less than half the third period remaining. While the Preds managed a brief pushback, the Canucks recovered and went back on the attack, eventually pulling Demko for the extra attacker.

The Preds made some good tries for the empty net, including a sequence when Forsberg almost managed to complete the hat trick with a Canucks skater playing goalie, but time expired before he was able to.

Still, the 4-2 win, after a long rest, was a great thing for Preds morale heading into the break.