Canucks make their shots count in 7-4 win over Predators (with video)
Ebbett, Hansen lead the way with three-point nights
Vancouver Canucks right wing Jannik Hansen (36) puts Nashville Predators left wing Sergei Kostitsyn (74) into the boards during first period NHL hockey action at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, B.C. Thursday, March,14, 2013.
Photograph by: JONATHAN HAYWARD, THE CANADIAN PRESS
VANCOUVER - We came half expecting the hockey equivalent of watching paint dry.
But a funny thing happened when the Vancouver Canucks met the Nashville Predators at Rogers Arena on Thursday. Goals were scored — and lots of them.
And it wasn’t the normal cast of characters scoring them in the Canucks’ 7-4 National Hockey League win.
Andrew Ebbett, recently recalled from the Chicago Wolves, scored one goal and added a pair of assists and fourth-line centre Maxim Lapierre recorded his second of the season.
Mason Raymond, defenceman Alex Edler, Jannik Hansen, Henrik Sedin, on a penalty shot, and David Booth, into an empty net, also scored for the Canucks, who won their second straight game.
Count Canuck coach Alain Vigneault among those who was not expecting the kind of offensive outburst that another packed house at Rogers Arena witnessed.
“I wasn’t one that was expecting that, for sure,” Vigneault said. “Any time you are capable of taking a goalie of that calibre out of the game you are either very opportunistic or you are making some great plays. It was probably a combination of both there.”
The Canucks chased Nashville starter Pekka Rinne for the third consecutive game at Rogers Arena. Rinne was yanked after Lapierre scored on a breakaway after leaving the penalty box — on a set-up from Dale Weise — five minutes into the second period. Rinne surrendered four goals on 12 shots before being replaced by Chris Mason.
Thursday’s goal-fest was a shocker, considering just one goal was scored the last time these teams met on Feb. 22 in Nashville when Weise scored midway through the third period to give the Canucks a 1-0 win in a game that was not a classic.
Thursday’s rematch was certainly easier on the eyes. But the Canucks, who led 5-2 after 40 minutes, were hanging on by their fingernails in the third. The Predators scored twice in the third to close the gap to 5-4 before Henrik’s penalty shot goal and Booth’s empty-netter put it away. Nashville ended up outshooting Vancouver 33-22.
“I don’t think either team executed very well,” Henrik said. “There were a lot of mistakes, a lot of turnovers. More goals than expected, but we have to look at a few things to get better.”
Henrik was awarded his penalty shot at 17:26 of the third — with the Canucks clinging to that one-goal lead — after his stick was held by Sergei Kostitsyn on a breakaway.
“I heard AV asked to get a power play instead of me going down there on a penalty shot,” Henrik said with a smile.
Vigneault may now have to consider inserting the Canuck captain into the shootout rotation.
“He was sitting right in front of me and he had that little smirk there,” Vigneault said with a laugh. “I had to kick him in the butt. I think he was trying to tell me something. I’ll figure it out next time.”
The Canucks emerged from the first period with a 3-1 lead and they went to work early. Ebbett opened scoring at 1:25 after Hansen stripped the puck off Nashville defenceman Scott Hannan. Hansen found Ebbett in front and the Canuck centre scored on his own rebound for his first of the season.
He added assists on goals by linemates Raymond and Hansen.
“It’s a good confidence-builder for me,” Ebbett said. “I was kind of sick of going up and down and up and down and playing some good hockey down in Chicago. I’m really just trying to maybe take a few more chances up here. I have been playing it kind of safe the first six games. I still want to be good on the defensive side, but I want to take a few chances on the offensive side when I can.”
Matt Halischuk, with his first of the season, tied it at 3:53 after a Kevin Bieksa giveaway. Roberto Luongo stopped Halischuk’s shot from the right circle, but the Nashville winger picked up his own rebound and scored on his second attempt on a wraparound.
Edler restored Vancouver’s lead at 5:20 of the first beating Rinne with a one-timer from the left point off a Chris Tanev pass. Raymond finished off a nice 3-on-1 rush late in the first to put Vancouver up by two.
Lapierre ended Rinne’s night at 5:32 of the second, putting a shot between the Nashville goalie’s legs on his breakaway. Nick Spaling got that one back when he bounced a shot off Bieksa’s skate and past Luongo at 6:01 of the second. But Hansen, on a nice individual effort, restored Vancouver’s three-goal lead at 13:48 with his seventh of the season.
Third-period goals by Mike Fisher and Gabriel Bourque made things interesting.
The win improved the Canucks’ record to 13-7-6 and kept them atop the Northwest Division standings. The Predators, who were 4-0 winners in Dallas on Tuesday, fell to 11-10-6.
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun