Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Preds limit Vancouver's 'low plays' in 3-1 win



The Nashville Predators defeated the Vancouver Canucks by a 3-1 score on Tuesday night in front of 16,769 at Bridgestone Arena. Nashville's special teams proved to be the difference in the game. The Predators scored a power play goal and a shorthanded goal in the second period.

Mike Fisher got the scoring started for the Predators on the power play after missing Sunday night's game with the flu. Martin Erat and Ryan Suter made two smooth passes to enable Fisher to score on an easy tap in on the doorstep.

Francis Bouillon took a tripping penalty at 12:29 of the second period that put the Canucks on the power play. While shorthanded, Hal Gill made a great play to tip the puck to Fisher who stormed up the ice with Sergei Kostitsyn on an odd-man rush. Fisher made a great pass to Kostitsyn, who was able to blow it by Roberto Luongo to give the Predators a 2-0 lead. Gill's defensive awareness made the shorthanded goal possible. He was a difference-maker for the Predators all night, and he really made his presence felt.

"He's a big body and he did a great job. He's always a force out there. It's obviously nice to have a big guy like him. He has such a long reach, and he's using his big body and strength," said Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne.

Dale Weise was able to capitalize on a David Legwand giveaway to pull the Canucks within one goal at 16:52 of the second period. However, Nashville would come out of the second period with a 2-1 lead thanks to their penalty kill.

"We had a couple of penalty kills in the second period. The guys battled hard, and they didn't get too much going on. We always got the puck down the ice, and that was key in the game," Rinne said.

Legwand added another goal for the Predators in the third period to ice the game away for Nashville. Luongo, along with a little help from the crossbar, really kept Vancouver alive in the third period. However, the Predators were just too much for the Canucks, and they walked away with the 3-1 victory.

Nashville did a great job of eliminating the Vancouver cycle on Tuesday night. The Canucks were forced to shoot from outside for most of the night, and they didn't have a lot of prime scoring chances.

"I think we did a better job of cutting their low plays. They like to cycle the puck and they're really good at playing down low. I think that's the one area that we focused on. It's always easier when we box out guys, and maybe let a few more shots from the point. It's dangerous, but it's a better option than those low plays," Rinne said.

The Predators will return to action on Thursday night when they host the St. Louis Blues. Nashville has posted a 4-0-0 record against the Blues so far this season, and will be looking to continue their dominance against them.

Hockey Night in Nashville's 3 Stars of the game:
1. Mike Fisher(NSH)
2. Sergei Kostitsyn(NSH)
3. Pekka Rinne(NSH)

Official 3 Stars:
1. Mike Fisher(NSH)
2. Pekka Rinne(NSH)
3. Sergei Kostitsyn(NSH)

(Photo Credit: Leanne Charles)

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