Dakota Joshua scores 2 goals to help lift Canucks past Predators 4-2 in Game 1 of playoff series

Updated Apr. 22, 2024 2:49 a.m. ET

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Pius Suter and Dakota Joshua scored 12 seconds apart in the third period and the Vancouver Canucks stormed back for a 4-2 win over the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series Sunday night.

Joshua had two goals and an assist, Elias Lindholm also scored and Thatcher Demko stopped 20 shots for Vancouver, the Pacific Division champion which hosted a playoff game for the first time since 2015.

“We’ve been talking about being in one-goal games the whole season for these moments, and I love that there was zero panic today, hardly any at all,” Canucks forward J.T. Miller said. “We just stayed with it.”

Jason Zucker and Ryan O’Reilly scored for Nashville, and Juuse Saros made 17 saves.


The Canucks were trailing 2-1 when Suter tied it 8:59 into the third. Quin Hughes took a pass from Brock Boeser and blasted a shot that deflected off Suter and past Saros from just inside the blue line.

Just 12 seconds later, Lindholm checked Jeremy Lauzon behind the Predators’ net and shook him off the puck. Conor Garland picked it up and flicked it to Joshua, who sent it in from the top of the crease to put Vancouver up 3-2.

“I’ll never forget it,” Joshua said of his goal. “And it makes you want to keep doing it.”

Demko preserved the one-goal advantage with a series of late stops, including one on Roman Josi with 1:49 left.

The Predators pulled Saros and Joshua took advantage, scoring his second goal of the night into an empty net with 1:28 remaining to seal the victory.

“I think we just stayed patient the entire game and didn’t really push too hard or give anything up when we were down going into the third,” said Hughes, who had two assists. “We got our looks and we knew we were going to get our looks.”

Nashville went 1 for 4 on the power play, while Vancouver was 0 for 3.

“Every power play that you don’t score on is a missed opportunity,” Zucker said. “I thought it was nice to get that one. (O’Reilly) and those guys made some great plays there and I thought our (penalty kill) was really good tonight.”

Nashville opened the scoring 15:15 in when Zucker took a pass from Josi and sent a shot through traffic from the top of the faceoff circle and beat Demko stick side.

Lindholm tied it 47 seconds into the second by sending a long wrist shot past Saros.

The Canucks ran into penalty trouble midway through the second, taking three calls in just over six minutes. Nashville capitalized on their first man-advantage after Teddy Blueger was sent to the box for interference.

Gustav Nyquist slid a pass to O’Reilly, who launched a shot into the top corner of Vancouver’s net. It was O’Reilly’s 26th career playoff goal.

“I thought we were starting to take over the game and we fall asleep on a shift in the offensive zone, lose assignments, don’t block a shot and it’s 2-2,” Predators coach Andrew Brunette said. “And I thought we had a lot of momentum going there, so that’s hockey.

“We've got to learn from it and move on — Etch A Sketch memory, short term — and move straight ahead.”

NOTES: The Canucks had 39 hits, while the Predators had 32. Predators forward Cole Smith had a game-high six. ... Josi has 32 career postseason assists, setting a Predators record. He also holds the franchise mark for playoff points by a defenseman with 43.


Game 2 is Tuesday night in Vancouver.


AP NHL playoffs: https://apnews.com/hub/stanley-cup and https://www.apnews.com/hub/NHL