Predators ripped by Canucks
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Andrew Ebbett and Jannik Hansen provided some rare offense to help the Vancouver Canucks emerge from their scoring funk.
Ebbett and Hansen both had a goal and two assists as the Canucks beat the Nashville Predators 7-4 on Thursday night. Vancouver had totaled only five goals in its previous three games.
Ebbett, who has split time this season between Vancouver and Chicago of the AHL, got his first goal for the Canucks just 1:25 into the game.
“It’s a good confidence-builder for me,” Ebbett said. “I was getting sick of going up and down and up and down.”
Ebbett began the season centering Vancouver’s second line while Ryan Kesler recovered from shoulder and wrist injuries. The Calgary native was recalled from Chicago on Monday after Kesler went down with a foot injury upon his return following offseason surgery, and rookie Jordan Schroeder struggled.
“It’s definitely not the type of game we were expecting against these guys,” Hansen said.
Hansen’s three-point night was the first of his NHL career, which began with 10 playoff games in 2006-07. He has had four goals and five assists in seven games since his wife gave birth to twin boys.
“It just happens to be going in the right direction right now,” Hansen said of his game. “For some reason tonight, we (the team) found a way to score a couple more than we normally do.”
Alex Edler, Mason Raymond, Max Lapierre, Henrik Sedin on a penalty shot, and David Booth, into an empty net, also scored for the Canucks, who won their second straight. Roberto Luongo finished with 29 saves.
Vancouver led 3-1 after the first period and 5-2 after the second.
Matt Halischuk, Nick Spaling, Mike Fisher and Gabriel Bourque scored for the Predators, who outshot the Canucks 33-22.
“I didn’t think the score was an indication of how the game was,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “Unfortunately, everything that, I think, happened early was self-inflicted. The first goal was self-inflicted, and I thought the third goal was. We battled back, we had some chances but couldn’t bury enough.”
All the goals came at even strength as Nashville was 0 for 4 on the power play and Vancouver went 0 for 2.
Ebbett’s early opening goal sent the Canucks on a scoring tear, and Hansen’s second-period marker, which gave Vancouver a 5-2 lead, proved to be the winner after the Predators’ rally fell short.
Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne came in with two shutouts in his previous three games. However, Ebbett opened the scoring early after Hansen stole the puck from Nashville defenseman Scott Hannan behind the net and sent it out front.
The goal ended Rinne’s even-strength shutout streak at 186 minutes and 21 seconds.
Rinne’s night ended after Lapierre increased the Canucks’ advantage to 4-1 about 5 1/2 minutes into the second period as he scored on a breakaway coming out of the penalty box. Predators coach Barry Trotz then pulled Rinne — who gave up four scores on 12 shots — in favor of Chris Mason.
Just 29 seconds later, Spaling reduced Nashville’s deficit to 4-2 as his goal-mouth pass went in off Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa.
However, Hansen restored Vancouver’s three-goal lead at 13:48 of the second period. While skating down the wing, he directed the puck at Mason and Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis fell and carried the puck and Mason into the net.
Vancouver’s two second-period goals came on only four shots, while Nashville unleashed 12 at Luongo.
“That line (of Ebbett, Hansen and Raymond) in the first period was really, really strong,” Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. “They were strong on the puck, Jannik can chase that puck and not get looked off like any of the top guys in the league.”
Fisher pulled the Predators to 5-3 as he beat Luongo with a backhand from the slot at 6:38 of the third, and Bourque drew Nashville within one with 4:39 remaining.
However, Sedin deked Mason on a penalty shot just more than 2 minutes later after the Canucks captain was hooked on a breakaway. Then Booth scored into an empty net when Lapierre decided to pass instead of shooting.
“When we go into the third up three goals, we definitely don’t want to be giving up one goal let alone two,” Hansen said. “So it’s something we have to clean up and make sure that we bury teams and we don’t let them (back) into the games.”
Halischuk tied the score 1-1 about 2 1/2 minutes after Ebbet’s opening goal. Edler put Vancouver back ahead less than two minutes later.
Raymond made it 3-1 with just under 2 minutes left in the first period as he one-timed Ebbett’s cross-ice pass.
NOTES: Bieksa returned to Vancouver’s lineup after missing five games with a groin injury. … Canucks winger Steve Pinizzotto, 28, played his first NHL game after appearing in 285 minor-league contests. The Mississauga, Ontario, native was recalled earlier Thursday from the Chicago of the AHL and quickly made his presence known by fighting Kevin Klein on his first shift. … The Predators played without injured top scorer Colin Wilson (upper body) as well as defenseman Hal Gill (lower body) and forwards Patric Hornqvist (upper body) and Paul Gaustad (upper body).