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Predators end Canucks 13 game win streak with 3-1 victory
After the Canucks easily dispatched their last two opponents, Toronto and Edmonton, the Nashville Predators bared their teeth and put an end to the Canucks winning ways with a 3-1 win. With the Canucks riding a 10-0-3 streak heading into Nashville to face the Predators who were 18-7-4 on home ice, something had to give, and tonight it was all about the goaltending and special teams. And tonight, it was the Predators who had both to ensure the win.
Vancouver - February 22, 2012 - After the Canucks easily dispatched their last two opponents, Toronto and Edmonton, the Nashville Predators bared their teeth and put an end to the Canucks winning ways with a 3-1 win. With the Canucks riding a 10-0-3 streak heading into Nashville to face the Predators who were 18-7-4 on home ice, something had to give, and tonight it was all about the goaltending and special teams. And tonight, it was the Predators who had both to ensure the win.
Both goalies played exceptionally well for their teams, but Nashville’s Peka Rinne held the edge as he was virtually unbeatable, making some very impressive saves to keep the Canucks off the score board until late in the second period. There were a few times that you could sense he watched a lot of Canucks scoring highlights in preparation for the game because he saved some pucks on a few Canucks “signature” scoring plays to make sure the Canucks weren’t able to gather any momentum early in the game.
Luongo as well played well making some key saves late in the game to keep his team within striking distance, and if it wasn’t for Rinne’s on the other end of the ice, the Canucks could have possibly won this game. The old adage of “Live by the sword, die by the sword,” was the Canucks motto tonight as the Predators were able to capitalize on the mistakes and make the Canucks pay. After Mike Fisher scored on the power play early in the second period to give the Predators the one goal lead by taking a pass from Ryan Suter and slapping the puck towards the net, the puck deflected off of Luongo’s skate as he was sliding across the crease to make the save. Sometimes you have to be good to be lucky I guess, but either way it was only the 17th time this season the Canucks didn’t score the game’s opening goal.
Eight minutes later, the Predators special teams struck again, this time in the form of a short handed marker to put the Canucks down by 2. While on the power play, Daniel Sedin’s shot is stopped by Rinne in close, the puck then ends up on Hal Gill’s stick in the corner, who then feeds who else but Mike Fisher who is heading up ice with Sergei Kostitsyn with only Sami Salo defending for the Canucks. As soon as Salo plays Fisher, he slides a nice cross ice pass to Kostitsyn who easily beats Luongo to put the Preds up by two.
Late in the second period, Dale Weise finally beats Rinne with a deflected back hand shot in the crease to pull the Canucks within a goal, but that was all Rinne was going to give tonight, as he effectively barred the net after that. Even a trademark Henrik Sedin cross ice pass to Burrows for the one-timer was easily stopped by Rinne who was in perfect position to make the save kept the normally high flying Canucks at bay. With the score 2-1 in favor of the Predators, Luongo did his best to keep the Canucks in it when Kevin Bieksa coughed up the puck in the neutral zone to Shea Weber who danced in on Luongo and deked him out with a forehand backhand play, but the outstretched glove of Luongo was able to stop the puck heading towards the open side of the net. Outstanding save by Luongo who never did give up on the play, or tonight’s game as he was in it from start to finish. The death knell came at 17:09 of the third period when the Canucks made a rare defensive error by having everyone on one side of the ice fighting for the puck in their own zone, leaving a wide open David Legwand to accept a pass from Martin Erat and slap the rolling puck past Luongo to go up 3-1. And that was all she wrote for the Canucks.
The Canucks outshot the Predators 33-28, and on a normal night would have resulted in more than one goal. But it’s not every night that the team runs into a goaltender that is dialed into the game like Rinne was tonight! Rinne deserved the win for his play tonight, but on the other hand Luongo deserved a better fate than 3 goals against as well.
If tonight’s game was a tough loss for the Canucks, then their next opponent will be even tougher, as the Detroit Red Wings are virtually unbeatable at Joe Louis Arena. But win or lose, whenever the Wings and Canucks play, it is always an excellent display of skill by two evenly matched teams!
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