for this game

Predators edge Canucks to stay afloat

May 8, 2011 - 5:09 AM
Vancouver, BC (Sports Network) - Joel Ward scored a pair of third-period goals to help the Nashville Predators stay alive with a 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 5 of a Western Conference semifinal series.

Ward also had an assist, while David Legwand scored twice for the Predators, who now trail 3-2 in the best-of-seven series. Pekka Rinne stopped 31 shots in the win.

"We were excited coming in and as a group we always rise to adversity," said Ward. "We just tried to treat this as another game and not put too much pressure on ourselves and execute."

Ryan Kesler scored twice and Raffi Torres added a goal and an assist for the Canucks, who are looking to reach the conference finals for the first time since 1994. Roberto Luongo made 19 saves in the loss.

"They came out real strong and had a lot of energy to start," said Vancouver head coach Alain Vigneault. "I thought we played a good first period, but things started to slip away for us in the third."

The series shifts back to Nashville, where the Predators lost Games 3 and 4, for Game 6 on Monday.

With the scored tied at 2-2, Nashville took the lead just 1:14 into the final frame when a slap-pass by Mike Fisher from the right to the left saw Ward finish the play with a one-timer past Luongo.

The Predators gave themselves an insurance goal 4 1/2 minutes later as a turnover by Vancouver's Alexander Edler in his own zone saw Ward grab the puck at the inside left circle and beat Luongo to the glove side.

The Canucks made it a one-goal game with 3:46 to play as Kesler's snap shot from the top of the right circle got past a partially screened Rinne, but they were unable to net the equalizer.

The first goal of the game was Nashville's as the team took a 1-0 lead while shorthanded when Legwand was sprung for a breakaway and wristed the puck into the left side just 3:42 in.

The Canucks tied the game just over two minutes later as Jannik Hansen picked off a Pred and sent a quick pass from the low right side over to the slot where Torres wristed it home for his first goal of the playoffs.

It was a 2-1 Vancouver lead at the 15:06 mark of the first as a 2-on-2 play going into the Nashville end saw Mason Raymond make a contested pass from the right to the left and a covered Kesler got his stick on it for the deflection.

The only goal of the second period was Nashville's thanks to a fortunate deflection. Holding the puck behind the net, Legwand flipped it over the net to the front where it hit off of Edler and went in just 51 seconds into the frame.

Game Notes

It was the first time in franchise history that the Predators won a game when facing elimination...Vancouver Mikael Samuelsson left the game in the first period with a lower body injury. It was announced after the contest that he won't travel with the team for Game 6...Nashville was 0-for-1 on the power play, while Vancouver was 0-for-2...Ward has seven goals in the playoffs and 12 points.