It was a festive night at GM Place: Daniel and Henrik Sedin were dominant, Roberto Luongo was nearly flawless and the Vancouver Canucks rolled to an easy victory before a sellout crowd on the last night before the Christmas break.
Daniel and Henrik Sedin each had a goal and two assists as the Canucks steamrolled Nashville 4-1 on Tuesday, ending the Predators' four-game winning streak.
"We wanted to go into the Christmas break with a good atmosphere, and I think we have that," Daniel Sedin said. "We played a really good 60 minutes."
Luongo was 5:24 away from his 50th NHL shutout before Patric Hornqvist flipped a high backhander past him for the Predators' lone goal as the Canucks improved to 5-2-0 on an eight-game homestand that ends Saturday night. Luongo made 20 saves as the Canucks outshot Nashville 36-21 and moved into the top eight in the West.
"We deserved to win," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "It was unfortunate we lost the shutout at the end of the game, but overall we were focused and even though we're going on a three-day break, they did what they had to
Luongo admitted he was disappointed to come so close to his 50th career shutout, but added, "We got the two points, and that's all that matters."
The Predators had won four in a row, including all three games of a road trip that took them from Columbus to Edmonton to Calgary, and had been 6-0-1 since their last regulation loss, to Minnesota on Dec. 5. That streak started three nights later with a 4-2 win over the Canucks in Nashville.
"There were too many areas in which they had a higher compete level than us," an unhappy coach Barry Trotz said. "They had a lot of desperation in their game. Maybe we got a little fat and didn't come out the way we wanted to."
Nashville had only one goal after scoring 23 in its four previous games. The Predators are off until Saturday, when they host Chicago in the start of a home-and-home series. Chicago leads Nashville by two points in the Central Division race.
"We were pretty solid, and we had some good backside pressure," Vigneault said of his team's defensive effort. "A lot of taking away from the other team is making good decisions with the puck, and I think we did that tonight."
Daniel Sedin scored in the second period and assisted on his brother's goal in the third after the twins combined to set up Sami Salo's third of the season at 6:53 of the final period.
"They played a good strong game," Vigneault said of the Sedins, who were broken up during Sunday night's 3-1 loss to St. Louis but reunited on Tuesday, along with regular partner Alex Burrows. "They got some quality chances and did a real good job for us."
Vancouver outshot Nashville 14-6 in the opening period but was unable to beat Dan Ellis, whose best stop came when he foiled Daniel Sedin from close-in on a give-and-go with his brother.
"We came out with no energy," defenseman Shea Weber said. "They took it to us. We didn't come out with any life."
The Canucks capitalized on a good bounce to take the lead at 6:39 of the second period. Kyle Wellwood got the puck to Tanner Glass behind the net; Glass' pass then hit a defender and went right to Steve Bernier, who was all alone and snapped a 10-footer past Ellis for his 10th of the season.
Daniel made it 2-0 at 16:23 with a power-play goal. He set up in the slot and rifled Henrik's feed from the lower right circle past a defenseless Ellis for his eighth of the season.
Salo beat Ellis through a screen at 6:53 into the third period, and Henrik got his 16th by banging a passout from Daniel into the net at 9:31.
Trotz said Salo's goal was the backbreaker.
"That third goal was huge -- game, set and match," he said. "It put the nail in the coffin..
"The bottom line was that the team that had more urgency and was more determined to get the win got it."
Hornqvist spoiled Luongo's shutout when he made a quick move that created a 2-on-0 break and took a backhander that went past Luongo's glove.
But that was about all that went wrong for the Canucks, who will get the next three days off -- Vigneault said he won't hold practice on Wednesday before the mandatory two-day break.
"They'll be fine," he said when asked about giving his team the extra day off. "They're smart. We'll rejuvenate in the next couple of days -- they're going to do like everyone else and have a nice Christmas."
Material from team media was used in this report
|Steve Bernier (10) ASST: Tanner Glass (4), Kyle Wellwood (6)|
1 - 0 VAN
|PPG - Daniel Sedin (8) ASST: Henrik Sedin (30), Kevin Bieksa (15)|
2 - 0 VAN
|Sami Salo (3) ASST: Henrik Sedin (31), Daniel Sedin (14)|
3 - 0 VAN
|Henrik Sedin (16) ASST: Daniel Sedin (15), Alexandre Burrows (14)|
4 - 0 VAN
|Patric Hornqvist (11) ASST: J-P Dumont (18), Marcel Goc (7)|
4 - 1 VAN
|Ryan Suter Holding the stick against Jannik Hansen|
|Rick Rypien Hi-sticking against Patric Hornqvist|
|Dave Scatchard Cross checking against Christian Ehrhoff|
|Jannik Hansen Tripping against Ryan Jones|
|Shea Weber Fighting (maj) against Ryan Kesler|
|Ryan Kesler Fighting (maj) against Shea Weber|
|Dave Scatchard Interference on goalkeeper against Roberto Luongo|