for this game

Predators get by banged-up Canucks

Feb 18, 2011 - 7:28 AM
Nashville, TN (Sports Network) - Martin Erat recorded a goal and an assist to lead Nashville to a 3-1 victory over visiting Vancouver at Bridgestone Arena.

Nick Spaling and Mike Fisher also tallied for the Predators, who have won three of their last four games. Fisher's goal was his first for Nashville since being acquired from Ottawa one week ago.

Pekka Rinne stopped 35 shots for the hosts, who remain very much alive in the hunt for a top-four playoff spot in a tight Western Conference playoff race.

"We lean on Pekka quite a bit and [he] has been great," said Nashville defenseman Shane O'Brien. "He's been our best player all year."

Daniel Sedin notched the only goal for the Canucks, who have dropped three of their last five games. Roberto Luongo made 23 saves in defeat.

"I liked the quality of our chances tonight," said Vancouver head coach Alain Vigneault. "I don't think we gave them that many chances. Unfortunately, we lost the game."

Vancouver also found out earlier on Thursday that it has lost defenseman Kevin Bieksa for an undetermined amount of time with a fractured foot suffered while blocking a shot in Tuesday's win over Minnesota.

After a scoreless period and a half, the teams combined to score all four goals in a span of five minutes late in the middle stanza.

Erat's wrist shot from the slot was stopped by Luongo but he was able to backhand the rebound over a fallen netminder to open the scoring at 14:13.

The Canucks then took advantage of a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty and scored a power-play goal to even the score with 1:45 left in the period.

Henrik Sedin made a backhand pass to his brother, who wristed a shot past Rinne from the right circle.

However, the tie lasted only seven seconds. Nashville won the ensuing faceoff at center ice into the Vancouver zone as defenseman Aaron Rome lost his footing at the blue line and fell down. That created a 2-on-1 which Spaling finished off with a backhander from the right of the crease.

Nashville added to its lead 49 seconds later when Fisher tipped home Alexander Sulzer's shot from just inside the left point.

Game Notes

Nashville is 6-1-2 in its last nine home games...Erat has totaled five goals and 11 points in his last nine games against the Canucks...Rinne evened his career mark at 3-3-0 versus Vancouver...Luongo is 9-9-3 in 22 career matchups against the Preds...Vancouver returns home to begin a six-game homestand on Saturday against Dallas...Nashville next takes the ice at home against Phoenix on Saturday.