Nashville Predators 5, Vancouver Canucks 4 (SO): Preds salvage late error

This game was an overtime period and a shootout longer than it really needed to be.

The Nashville Predators were back in action tonight, facing an also-struggling Vancouver Canucks team. Luke Schenn sat out for the Canucks for trade-related reasons

The Preds got out to a good start, finding the offensive zone and getting shots on net. Cole Smith was able to hammer home a rebound to give the Preds the first goal, scored at 4:38. There was a lengthy review to determine whether Tanner Jeannot had been offside, but in the end the goal stood and Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet earned his team a delay-of-game penalty.

Nashville was unable to get much going on their power play, and Vancouver got a chance of their own a few minutes later. Dante Fabbro misplayed the puck, then took a hooking penalty to try to save the play. The Preds were able to kill that penalty off, but it took their momentum, and the Canucks pressured heavily heading into the second half of the period.

As the period wound down, Roman Josi skated into Collin Delia, earning a goalie interference penalty. Smith had a good shorthanded chance on the second penalty kill, but Quinn Hughes was able to break the play up, preventing Smith from scoring his second of the period. The Preds were likewise able to stifle the Canucks, and the period ended with the Preds holding their lead.

Tanner Jeannot got a good chance about six minutes into the second, but Delia had the save. Jack Studnicka took a penalty, giving Nashville a chance on the power play. After several failed zone entries, a shorthanded chance by Phillip Di Giuseppe, and an offside entry, the Preds got it together at the last minute and Phil Tomasino scored his first of the season before the penalty could expire.

However, a few minutes later, Andrei Kuzmenko capitalized on a weird line change to get one past Saros, cutting the Preds’ lead to 2-1 at 12:47 of the second.

Much more worryingly, late in the period, Ryan Johansen headed off ice in a hurry with what looked like a skate cut to the ankle or the back of the leg. The play looked like an accident—he appeared to get clipped by a prone Hughes—but he needed help down the tunnel.

Fabbro took another penalty, a hold against Conor Garland, with just over two minutes left in the period. It looked like the Preds would escape unscathed, but Saros lost sight of the puck in a crush in the blue paint and it went in. The goal was reviewed to see if the net got knocked off the pegs (thanks to all the jabbing) before or after the puck was jammed across the line, but no luck; the tying goal, at 19:38, was credited to Sheldon Dries.

The Predators responded aggressively, charging up ice as soon as the puck dropped, and just twelve seconds after Dries’s goal Nino Niederreiter scored to restore the Preds’ lead, 3-2. No more goals were scored in the final ten seconds of the period, and the teams headed to intermission.

Dakota Joshua took an early penalty for hooking, and the Preds got another chance on the power play. They weren’t able to score there, but Mikael Granlund added a fourth for the Preds several minutes later, at 7:44. The Canucks counterattacked, with Garland getting a great chance that Saros managed to save.

Tanner Jeannot took a late hooking penalty, giving the Canucks a chance to go 6-on-4 while trailing by two. With the penalty expired, they continued to press 6-on-5, and an exhausted Preds group iced the puck with 1:41 remaining. Garland scored to cut the Preds’ lead to one, with 1:07 left. The Preds got a valiant attempt at the empty net, but didn’t manage it, and with 15.4 seconds remaining Kuzmenko scored again to tie the game.

Brock Boeser took a tripping penalty late in OT, but after an extended delayed-penalty sequence—time for Saros to make it to the bench, for the extra skater to come on, for the Preds to work their way to the offensive zone—there were only three seconds after the actual call, and the game headed to a shootout.

Matt Duchene scored the only goal in the skills competition, and the Preds somehow emerged with two points after all.