The Goods: Downed in Nashville
With five of Vancouver’s top six defencemen shelved with injuries, common thought was that the rookie replacements might struggle to fill their shoes.
The play of Chris Tanev, Yann Sauve and Evan Oberg was the least of the Canucks worries Thursday night in a 3-1 loss to the Nashville Predators; it was a lack of bite on the man advantage that had Vancouver drop its second game in three contests to end a three-game road trip.
Book ended by a pair of Christian Ehrhoff penalties were five consecutive Canucks power plays (two in the first, two in the second and a single in the third) and they were only able to capitalize on one, their fourth opportunity of the game to even the score at 1-1 with 1:45 remaining in the second period.
What played out next mirrored the luck Vancouver has been having on defence as Nashville took a 2-1 lead just seven seconds later and 49 ticks after that the Predators tallied again to take a commanding 3-1 lead.
From tied up going into the intermission - with momentum in hand - to down by two goals. A lot can change in 56 seconds.
Fortunately for the Canucks, not a lot needs to change in the way they played, according to head coach Alain Vigeanult.
“I didn’t mind our game tonight, obviously both teams played hard and it’s funny how the game will go sometimes,” said Vigneault, alluding to the quick Nashville goals.
“I thought that overall I liked the quality of our chances tonight. I don’t think we gave them too many chances and unfortunately we lost the game.”
Daniel Sedin had the lone Vancouver goal, his 30th of the season, on the power play as he beat Pekka Rinne with a quick shot from the right faceoff circle before Mike Fisher could intervene. The goal, which puts Daniel three back of team-leader Ryan Kesler, gives the Canucks the distinction of being the first team in the NHL with multiple 30-goal scorers.
Roberto Luongo made 23 saves in losing for just the 10th time this season, which ties him with Detroit’s Jimmy Howard for the second fewest losses, two back of Boston’s Tim Thomas, for netminders with at least 40 starts.
On defence the young guns held their own with Tanev leading the trio in ice time at 18:06, followed by Sauve’s 16:59 and Oberg with 9:05, all season-high and career-best minutes for the green defencemen.
All three were a minus-1 while combining for three shots, five hits and four blocked shots.
“I didn’t mind our young D tonight,” assessed Vigneault, “I thought they stayed within their limits. They did what they needed to do to give us a chance to win.”
Added Tanner Glass: “Our young guys really stepped up and played well tonight, they played a lot above their age, that’s for sure.”
Christian Ehrhoff extended his point-streak to four games - he has four assists over that stretch; Evan Oberg became the 13th defenceman and 37th player (including goalies) to dress for the Canucks this season.