Predators score twice in third to edge Canucks 2-1

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 24, 2014 at 1:32 am •  Published: January 24, 2014
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — The Nashville Predators took advantage of a late power play to rally past the Vancouver Canucks.

Nick Spaling scored a power-play goal midway through the third period and the Predators defeated the Canucks 2-1 Thursday night.

Vancouver's 25th-ranked power play finished 0 for 5, including a four-minute man advantage in the first period.

Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis had a tough game, missing several chances from the side of the Nashville net on that sequence.

"We had some great looks on the power play early on. We had probably four backdoor opportunities that we didn't finish on," Canucks assistant coach Mike Sullivan said. "I thought our power play did everything tonight except put it in the net."

Vancouver is just 2 for 30 with the man advantage over its past eight games.

"We had good chances, good looks. I thought we moved the puck well," said Daniel Sedin, who has gone 11 games without scoring. "In the end it doesn't really matter right now. We've got to get some goals.

"It's up to us in here to make it happen. No excuses."

Craig Smith had the other goal for Nashville and Carter Hutton made 33 saves as the Predators picked up their fourth victory in the past five games. Spaling also had an assist.

"We got some good goaltending, Carter was really good on those backdoor plays," said Predators coach Barry Trotz, whose team improved to 1-21-2 when trailing after two periods.

"They were executing that pretty well. We were having trouble trying to stop that and he got over there a couple times.

"It was a good character test. That was huge for us to get through the first period."

Chris Higgins scored for Vancouver, which got 24 stops from Roberto Luongo.

The Canucks, who still hold down the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference, had their two-game winning streak end.

Down 1-0 after two periods, Nashville tied it at 3:28 of the third when Smith ripped a shot past Luongo from the faceoff dot off a pass from Spaling for his team-leading 16th goal of the season.

"Going into the third when you've got a lead the least you can do is bring it to overtime. It's disappointing," Luongo said. "I need to make a better play on the first one, be more patient on the wrap and read that play a bit better."

The Predators kept pushing as the period wore on, with their sixth-ranked power play getting a couple of chances. The Canucks' penalty kill — second in the NHL — held firm until Seth Jones connected with Spaling at 12:38.

Jones fired a shot from the point that Spaling tipped past Luongo with just 3 seconds left on the Nashville man advantage to give the Predators their first lead.

Vancouver had another power-play chance late, but couldn't find a way past Hutton.

"The NHL is about a lot of low-scoring games," Luongo said. "We've got to find ways to win them. We've got to find ways to bring these games to overtime. We've got to find ways to protect leads. When we get scored on we've got to keep playing.