|NSH||1||0||0||(0 - 0)||1|
|VAN||4||0||1||(0 - 0)||5|
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) - This time, the Vancouver Canucks took full advantage of the early chances they created. And they even got some good bounces.
Henrik and Daniel Sedin each had a goal and assist during a four-goal first period that chased Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne and lifted Vancouver to a 5-1 victory over the Predators on Thursday night.
Shut out by the New York Rangers despite 40 shots on Tuesday night, the Canucks wasted little time getting on the board against the slumping Predators.
"We should have had one or two goals against the Rangers but we didn't and that's when it usually comes back and hurts you," captain Henrik Sedin said. "But tonight we got the early ones."
They got them in pairs against Nashville.
"Our best players got us the lead early on," Higgins said.
Ryan Kesler also scored on a lengthy 5-on-3 in the third period - his first goal in his second game after offseason hip surgery - to help the Canucks avoid losing their first three home games for the first time since 1984.
"We took care of business in the first and took over from there," said Roberto Luongo, who made 25 saves after getting booed by the home fans Tuesday.
"That shows how mentally tough he is, Higgins added about Luongo.
Nashville might need some of that soon.
Matt Halischuk had the lone goal for the Predators, who have lost four straight (0-3-1), are without top-end forwards Mike Fisher and Martin Erat, and looked nothing like the team that played Vancouver so tough before losing in six games of the second round of the playoffs. Nashville was outshot 40-25 and is the only Western Conference team to be outshot in every game this season.
Both captain Shea Weber and coach Barry Trotz said the effort was better than during a 12-shot loss in Edmonton Tuesday, but the praise from the bench boss ended there.
"We're the youngest team in the league without Fisher, Erat and (concussed defenseman Francis) Boullion, so our youth shows at times," Trotz said. "We have some young players maybe playing higher than they need to, but they've got to battle through it. You're going to have to go up against the best in the league. If you're scared of that, then get a dog, because this is the NHL."
Rinne, runner-up for the Vezina Trophy last season, finished with 12 saves before coming out after the first, but was mostly a victim of bad bounces.
He made a good save off Henrik Sedin on a walkout only to have twin brother Daniel bank the puck in off the back of his glove from behind the net 2:11 into the game. Maxim Lapierre hit the post on a 2-on-1 the next shift, and Halischuk tied it 2 minutes later, but Henrik Sedin restored the lead for good less than 2 minutes after that with a harmless looking power-play slap shot that a defender deflected perfectly up and over Rinne's shoulder. And Weise similarly deflected an even more harmless looking shot from Alex Edler bounced into the slot.
Rinne actually got a break when Marco Sturm had a goal called back for kicking it over the line just over a minute later. But Higgins scored 23 seconds after that when his cross-ice pass attempt on a 2-on-1 hit defenseman Jonathan Blum's stick and bounced right back to him, stranding Rinne.
"Sometimes you feel almost disbelief things are going that way," Rinne said.
Anders Lindback took over in the Nashville net to start the second, and made a handful of great saves while killing off three straight penalties, including a 5-on-3 for 1:33. Kesler finally beat him from a sharp angle during another long 5-on-3 after Weber and Ryan Suter were penalized on the same play, with Weber getting a double minor for boarding and unsportsmanlike conduct.
Lindback finished with 23 saves on his first action this season.
"Lindy came in and made some huge saves, but we've got to give those guys some help," Weber said. "For us to hang them out to dry like that, it can't continue to happen. But it s something to build off. Before we didn't have anything to build off. Now we have our work ethic."
Notes: Bouillon, out since January, is on the trip and practicing but doesn't expect to play. Fischer, recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, is not with the team. Neither is Erat, who suffered an upper-body injury in the season opener. Canucks LW Marco Sturm, who signed a $2.25 million, one-year free agent deal in the summer, was back after being a healthy scratch Tuesday. Veteran Mikael Samuelsson, who had offseason sports hernia surgery, came out of the lineup after experiencing stiffness. Nashville RW Niclas Bergfors, signed as a free agent after scoring 34 goals in 162 NHL games, played only 8:15 in his second game of the season after struggling in the first.
|Daniel Sedin (3) ASST: Henrik Sedin (6)|
1 - 0 VAN
|Matt Halischuk (2) ASST: Colin Wilson (2), Jonathon Blum (1)|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Henrik Sedin (3) ASST: Daniel Sedin (6), Alexander Edler (3)|
2 - 1 VAN
|Dale Weise (1) ASST: Alexander Edler (4), Maxim Lapierre (1)|
3 - 1 VAN
|Chris Higgins (3) ASST: NONE|
4 - 1 VAN
|PPG - Ryan Kesler (1) ASST: Daniel Sedin (7), Sami Salo (3)|
5 - 1 VAN
|Patric Hornqvist Tripping against Dale Weise|
|Colin Wilson Hi stick - double minor against Jannik Hansen|
|Daniel Sedin Hooking against Ryan Suter|
|Dan Hamhuis Roughing against Jordin Tootoo|
|Maxim Lapierre Fighting (maj) against Colin Wilson|
|Colin Wilson Fighting (maj) against Maxim Lapierre|
|Alexandre Burrows Holding the stick against Jerred Smithson|
|Teemu Laakso Tripping against Ryan Kesler|
|Shea Weber Cross checking against Alexander Edler|
|Nick Spaling Hi-sticking against Cody Hodgson|
|Aaron Volpatti Fighting (maj) against Jordin Tootoo|
|Jordin Tootoo Fighting (maj) against Aaron Volpatti|
|Craig Smith Hooking against Cody Hodgson|
|Ryan Suter Hooking against Marco Sturm|
|Shea Weber Boarding against Jannik Hansen|
|Shea Weber Unsportsmanlike conduct|
|Alexander Edler Holding against Craig Smith|
|SA: 16||TOI: 20:00|
|Saves: 12||EV: 10 - 13|
|PIM: 0||PP: 2 - 3|
|SV%: .750||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 24||TOI: 40:00|
|Saves: 23||EV: 10 - 10|
|PIM: 0||PP: 12 - 13|
|SV%: .958||SH: 1 - 1|
|SA: 26||TOI: 59:53|
|Saves: 25||EV: 20 - 21|
|PIM: 0||PP: 4 - 4|
|SV%: .962||SH: 1 - 1|