Tough sledding, especially for the Predators. Defensively, the Canucks limited shots-on-goal and powered their way through to a 3-2 victory to wrap up their five-game road trip. Vancouver won three of their games away from Rogers Arena and return to BC with an overall record of 4-and-2.
Canucks 1st Period
Each team ended up with just six shots-on-goal, literally about three apiece in each half of the period.
Vancouver took the lead on a rare Juuse Saros whiff. The elite Nashville netminder waved at a long wrist shot that may or may not have deflected off a D-man’s stick, but if it did, it was forty feet away. Canucks winger Ilya Mikheyev, in just his second game back from injury, was the beneficiary.
Not sure of the Russian translation, but the language of hockey is universal: “Send the puck to the net and good things happen.”
After going 0-for-1 on the power play following a Canucks too-many-men-on-the-ice infraction, the Predators would tie it up at even strength at 15:38 on a Colton Sissons wrister.
In a penalty free 2nd period the game would intensify and the stage was set by Canucks winger Phil Di Giuseppe. Already a favorite of Vancouver head coach Rick Tocchet, PDG brought himself more favour by going hard to the net and backhanding a difficult puck past Saros for another Canucks lead.
The road team would also get scoring from the bottom of the forward group, from Nils Höglander, reinserted into the line-up after sitting out the game against the Panthers. The 22-year-old Swede stretched the Canucks margin with a tip-in of a Quinn Hughes point shot at 3:11.
All the while, Vancouver held Nashville to just four shots in the period, one of which got past goalie Thatcher Demko.
A bottom-six forward for the Predators also stepped up with Kiefer Sherwood making things more interesting with his 2nd goal of the season at 9:18 on a slapper.
At the end of the day it was Vancouver’s overall team defensive effort that made the difference. That includes the penalty kill, successful on two more Predator’s power plays late in the game.
In almost comical fashion, Canucks star Elias Pettersson hit the post on an empty net attempt in the final minute and then a few moments later shot wide while he was wide open from center ice.
In lamenting the first miss, he practically put himself out of position with Nashville rushing the puck up the ice with a half-a-minute to play. The second attempt resembled a golfer putting with the yips.
No serious Nashville scoring attempt tested Demko and with that the Canucks fly home happy.
Shots on goal ended up 24-17 in favour of Vancouver. Power plays: Canucks 0-for-1, Predators 0-for-3.
The Canucks return to Vancouver to play the St. Louis Blues on Friday and the New York Rangers the very next night.
Canucks 3 Stars:
1) Filip Hronek – Team leading 27:33 on ice, an assist and a plus-2 evening.
2) Nils Höglander – From Czechia to Sweden; “Hoagie” made the most of his evening with a goal and 3 shots in 8:59.
3) Ilya Mikheyev – To a Russian to complete the European sweep. 2nd game back, a goal and a team leading four SOG.
— Canucks Game Day 6: Which Predators? Hot Huggy
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Monday’s Pod with Simmer and Bruce Boudreau …