Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Luongo's brilliant save propels Vancouver to shootout victory

The Vancouver Canucks came into Nashville and got a 4-3 shootout win over the Predators on Tuesday night in front of 16,232 at Bridgestone Arena. Alexander Edler scored the game-winning shootout goal in the sixth round to propel the Canucks to their 33rd win of the season.

Vancouver got out to a 1-0 lead at 11:42 of the first period when Ryan Kesler, a thorn in Nashville's side since last season's Western Conference Semi Final playoff series, tallied on a one-timer from the faceoff circle.

Colin Wilson responded for Nashville a little over two minutes later when he was able to fire a shot that snuck through Roberto Luongo for the goal.

"(Legwand) did a good job keeping the puck in the zone. I came in from a wide angle and kind of let a shot go. Fortunately enough, it went in the five-hole on Luongo," Wilson said.

Byron Bitz gave the Canucks a 2-1 lead when he fired a one-timer from the slot while on the rush with Henrik Sedin. Just 23 seconds later, Daniel Sedin gave Vancouver a two-goal lead when he converted from right in front of Pekka Rinne on a pass from Bitz. Even though the Predators had out-shot Vancouver by a 16 to 11 margin, they found themselves down 3-1 after the first period of play.

However, as they have done with regularity so far this season, the Predators came back. Sergei Kostitsyn cut the deficit to one goal when he was able to angle his skate and redirect a shot from the point by Kevin Klein past Luongo. The play was reviewed, but it was ultimately upheld for a good goal.

"If they had called that back, I probably would've had a heart attack right there," said Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz.

Just over a minute later, Mike Fisher tied the game for the Predators when he deflected a Shea Weber snapshot from the point. It bounced through Luongo's five-hole and slowly trickled into the net to tie the game a three.

It looked like the Predators would take the lead in the second period when Wilson found himself with the puck in the slot and a wide open net to shoot. He fired a high wrist shot, but Luongo was somehow able throw his pad up and make an incredible save.

"Luongo made one of those saves that we should've scored on there. That's why your best penalty killer is always your goaltender," Trotz said.

Shortly after that sequence, Wilson got hit with a shot and seemed to be really shaken up on the bench. He was hunched over and seemed to be in a considerable amount of pain. He was able to return to the ice after the pain subsided, however.

"I got hit with a shot. It wasn't too bad, though. It's just one of those things that you had to wait for the pain to go down so after that I was good to go," Wilson said.

During the shootout, Alex Burrows scored for the Canucks in the third round to put the pressure on David Legwand. Legwand responded with a beautiful backhand goal on Luongo that pushed the shootout forward. However, Edler was able to score in the sixth round, and Wilson wasn't able to put one past Luongo. Nashville was able to collect one point in the comeback effort, and will take on the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night in Canada's capital city.

"You never want to lose two games in a row. I think we're going to work on that. We want to get that win in Ottawa and keep rolling against the Bruins," Wilson said.

Hockey Night in Nashville's 3 Stars of the game:
1. Byron Bitz(VAN)
2. Henrik Sedin(VAN)
3. Colin Wilson(NSH)

Official 3 Stars:

1. Henrik Sedin(VAN)
2. Colin Wilson(NSH)
3. Byron Bitz(VAN)

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