NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Nashville Predators didn't start the game as if it meant much to them. Good thing they know how to finish.
Greg Johnson broke a tie with a short-handed goal 45 seconds into the third period, and Tomas Vokoun made 41 saves in the Predators' 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.
"It's always a big momentum shift to give up a short-handed goal," Vokoun said. "Naturally, we showed a lot of life after that."
The Predators snapped a six-game winless skid against the Canucks and remained in fourth place in the Western Conference. They have 76 points, three more than fifth-place Vancouver.
Nashville coach Barry Trotz called it a nice rebound after being shut out 3-0 in Chicago on Wednesday night.
"One of our goals is to have home-ice advantage," Trotz said of the postseason. "We're not going to look behind us. We've just got to look forward. These are playoff-type games, and we found a way to win."
Yanic Perreault and Mike Sillinger added goals to help Nashville win for only the second time in its last six games.
"From every angle that you look at it, it was important," Vokoun said. "You want to separate from ninth place as much as possible. It seems like everyone is winning, so we need points."
Johnson put Nashville ahead to stay when he grabbed a loose puck near the red line and skated up the right side before flipping the puck past Alex Auld's stick for his seventh this season.
"This is a shot in the arm," Johnson said.
Vancouver coach Marc Crawford said asking too much of his younger defensemen was the difference.
"If you take the game as a whole, we did some good things," Crawford said. "I like the way our team is working right now. End result, though, is that you need to get points."
Sillinger padded the lead with a little help as he swatted at a rebound off Auld's chest, bumping the puck in off Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa at 6:09. The goal was reviewed for a possible high-stick but was upheld.
Markus Naslund scored the lone goal for Vancouver, which dropped to 14-17-2 on the road. He had another goal erased by goalie interference.
Vancouver outshot the Predators 30-15 through two periods, but the Canucks could not take advantage of Nashville's penalties, going 1-of-11 on the power play. They had a 5-on-3 and a 4-on-3 in the first, then a pair of 5-on-3s in the second.
"We did a lot of things that we set out to do, and we outshot them, about doubled their shots," said Auld, who gave up two goals on five shots in the third. "Their goaltender was great, and I wasn't."
They only converted when Naslund scored during the first 5-on-3 for Vancouver at 2:15 of the second. He took the puck from Nolan Baumgartner and wristed it past Vokoun from the front edge of the right circle for the first power-play goal allowed by Nashville in four games.
Perreault tied it on a power play with 2:59 left in the second, his 21st goal of the season. He took a pass from Paul Kariya and scored from the edge of the right circle.
Notes: Vokoun was playing for the first time since helping the Czech Republic to an Olympic bronze medal last week. ... Naslund's goal snapped Nashville's streak of power-play kills at 15. Naslund has three goals in the past four games. ... Nashville left wing Darcy Hordichuk set a career high by playing in his 58th game this season. ... Kariya has five points (one goal, four assists) in his last four games.
|PPG - Markus Naslund (28) ASST: Nolan Baumgartner (23), Todd Bertuzzi (34)|
1 - 0 VAN
|PPG - Yanic Perreault (21) ASST: Paul Kariya (40), Adam Hall (12)|
1 - 1 Tie
|SHG - Greg Johnson (7) ASST: NONE|
2 - 1 NSH
|Mike Sillinger (24) ASST: Dan Hamhuis (24), Scottie Upshall (9)|
3 - 1 NSH
|Bryan Allen Tripping against Martin Erat|
|Mike Sillinger Interference|
|Steve Sullivan Tripping against Anson Carter|
|Todd Bertuzzi Hooking|
|Kimmo Timonen Holding against Todd Bertuzzi|
|Matt Cooke Interference on goalkeeper|
|Marek Zidlicky Hooking|
|Shea Weber Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Adam Hall Tripping|
|Richard Park Hooking against Kimmo Timonen|
|Danny Markov Holding against Jarkko Ruutu|
|Kevin Bieksa Hooking|
|Paul Kariya Interference|
|Marek Zidlicky Hooking|
|Nolan Baumgartner Hooking against Greg Johnson|
|Marek Zidlicky Hi-sticking against Todd Bertuzzi|
|Henrik Sedin Hooking against Martin Erat|
|Tomas Mojzis Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Scottie Upshall Slashing|