|NSH||1||0||1||0||(0 - 0)||2|
|VAN||2||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||2|
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) _ Adam Hall didn't want to look back at the end of the season and wonder what could've been.
Hall scored with 22 seconds left in regulation and while goaltender Tomas Vokoun was pulled for an extra attacker, giving the Nashville Predators a 2-2 tie with the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night.
Nashville has 80 points, equaling a franchise record and moving the Predators into a seventh-place tie with St. Louis for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, one point ahead of ninth-place Los Angeles.
``Maybe this one tie is going to be the point that puts us over the edge and into the playoffs,'' Hall said. ``Hindsight is 20-20, you sit down after the season and say `If we just had a tie here or a win here it would have been the difference.' You really never can tell until the very end.''
That was the case Tuesday for the Canucks, who appeared to catch a break when Kimmo Timonen's point shot rang off the post with 26 seconds left. But Vancouver couldn't clear the zone, and Timonen got another chance to shoot. Dan Cloutier got in front of the second shot, but the rebound bounced straight to Hall who snapped a shot into an unguarded net.
``The puck hit Cloutier and just happened to drop right in front, Hall said.
Andreas Johansson also scored for the Predators, who are winless in six games, but have picked up four points in that stretch.
``We've played some tough games and we re getting points, Tomas Vokoun said after making 25 saves, including a breakaway stop on Martin Rucinsky with five seconds left in overtime.
``Every point is huge for us.
Ryan Kesler and Trevor Linden scored 38 seconds apart midway through the first period as Vancouver moved within five points of Northwest Division-leading Colorado.
Cloutier made 25 saves for the fourth-place Canucks, three points up on Dallas in the race for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
``Look on the bright side of it, we picked up a point on Colorado tonight and we didn't lose a point on anyone we're chasing,'' Canucks coach Marc Crawford said.
Vancouver finished 3-0-1 against Nashville this season and hasn't lost to the Predators at home since Jan. 23, 2000, a span of eight games.
Johansson opened the scoring 6:45 in with a harmless looking shot off the boards that bounced in off defenseman Brent Sopel as he battled Hall in front. But Matt Cooke took turns setting up new linemates Kesler and Linden on the same shift four minutes later to give the Canucks the lead.
First, Cooke one-touched a pass from Linden in the high slot to Kesler cutting across the crease. The 19-year-old rookie waited for Vokoun to go down before tucking in his second NHL goal at 9:36.
The line stayed on the ice, and Kesler started another scoring play with a between-the-legs pass to Cooke behind the Nashville net. Cooke threaded a pass through the crease to Linden driving the net, and he tipped the puck behind Vokoun at 10:14 for his first goal in 17 games.
``Down 1-0 and struggling a bit, that shift alone was a big momentum boost and changed the game around,'' said Kesler after recording two points in 38 seconds to match his career total from the previous 21 games.
Kesler appeared to secure the win when he knocked the puck off Vladimir Orzagh's stick to save a goal during a wild scramble in the Canucks crease with five minutes left. But the Predators never stopped believing they could come back.
``At certain points during the season we've been down by a goal or a couple of goals and there's just a feeling in this locker room,'' Hall said. ``Nobody is talking, just looking around at guys and looking in their eyes and it's kind of an eerie quiet sometimes.
``Nobody is worried, something is going to happen.''
|Andreas Johansson Wrist shot - ASST: Greg Johnson , Adam Hall|
1 - 0 NSH
|Ryan Kesler Backhand shot - ASST: Matt Cooke , Trevor Linden|
1 - 1 Tie
|Trevor Linden Wrist shot - ASST: Matt Cooke , Ryan Kesler|
2 - 1 VAN
|Adam Hall Wrist shot - ASST: Kimmo Timonen , Steve Sullivan|
2 - 2 Tie
|Adam Hall Interference|
|Kimmo Timonen Holding|
|Shane Hnidy Slashing|
|Brendan Morrison Tripping|
|Shane Hnidy Roughing|
|Jarkko Ruutu Roughing|
|SA: 27||TOI: 64:43|
|Saves: 25||EV: 24 - 26|
|PIM: 0||PP: 1 - 1|
|SV%: .926||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 28||TOI: 64:58|
|Saves: 26||EV: 23 - 25|
|PIM: 0||PP: 2 - 2|
|SV%: .929||SH: 1 - 1|