The Canucks out-defended the NHL's stingiest defense in their own building on Friday night, limiting the Predators to just 10 shots after the first period. Fourth-liner Dale Weise scored midway through the third period and Roberto Luongo finished with 23 saves as the Canucks left Bridgestone Arena with a 1-0 victory.
The Predators win by playing shutdown defense in front of All-Star goaltender Pekka Rinne. On Friday, the Canucks used the same formula -- but executed it just a little better.
"Teams get burned in this building trying to do too much," Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said. "We played their style of game."
Neither team scored until Maxim Lapierre circled the net, came out into the lower right circle and fired a shot that hit Rinne's pads. The rebound came right to Weise, who ripped it into the open left side at 9:14 of the final period for his first goal of the season and just the fifth of his NHL career.
"Max made a heck of a play there. It was right on my tape, you can't miss those," Weise said.
Luongo stopped 13 shots in the opening period, but spent large chunks of the last two periods without a lot to do as the Canucks stifled the Predators at every opportunity to win for the second time in as many nights. Cory Schneider was in goal for Thursday's 4-3 win at Dallas, which ended Vancouver's three-game losing streak.
"Their team played well in front of him," Nashville defenseman Hall Gill said. "We didn't generate enough. We didn't generate a hack-and-whack mentality at the net, and that's where we have to be better."
The shutout was the second of the season for Luongo and the 62nd of his career, second among active goaltenders to New Jersey's Martin Brodeur, who has 120.
"They came out strong, but we were able to weather the storm," Luongo said. "The last two periods, I thought we played basically the type of hockey we want to play, especially playing against these guys."
Rinne finished with 23 saves in a game that saw few scoring opportunities for either team.
Luongo was a lot busier than Rinne in the first 20 minutes as the Predators outshot Vancouver 13-3. He made an excellent save on a right-point blast through traffic by Shea Weber midway through the period and stopped four shots during a late power play, including a jam try by Patric Hornqvist after a save on Martin Erat's close-in opportunity.
But the Canucks got their legs under them in the second period and began to get the better of the play, though they outshot the Predators just 9-5.
"This was our third game in four nights on the road with a tremendous amount of travelling and late nights." Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "I had to play four lines. We did. We got a lot out of our people in the second and the third.
"Lui gave us the chance for us to get our legs and get our energy."
Rinne was tested for the first time 6:13 into the middle period when he moved out to the top of the crease to take Jannik Hansen's 30-foot blast in the midsection after Hansen took the puck away from Colin Wilson in the Nashville zone.
Rinne also denied the Sedin twins in quick succession with 8:40 left in the period, denying Daniel's short backhander and stopping Henrik on the rebound.
"We had things going our way. We had the jump, and then for whatever reason, we backed off and let them get into it emotionally, mentally and then physically," Gill said. "We have to learn from that."
After Weise's goal put Vancouver ahead, Wilson had the Predators' best chance with 6:49 remaining when he was left alone in the slot, but he fired over the net. Nashville also had a late power play when Alexandre Burrows was called for slashing with 2:13 left but didn't get a shot on goal despite pulling Rinne to get a 6-on-4 skating advantage. Mike Fisher had a chance in the slot with just under a minute left but fired high.
"We got scored on and then we started to kick it into another gear," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "You need to kick it for 60 minutes and we didn't get it done."
Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury and did not return. He played 9:31 and had two shots on goal.
"He tweaked a groin a little bit, we'll know more tomorrow," Vigneault said. "At first, it doesn't seem to be that serious but we will find out tomorrow. See how he reacts to ice and treatment."
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report
|Power Play %||21.0%||17.1%|
|% on Road||18.2%||16.2%|
|% at Home||24.3%||18.0%|
|Mike Fisher Slashing against Henrik Sedin|
|Henrik Sedin Holding the stick against Shea Weber|
|Brandon Yip Interference against Mason Raymond|
|Alexandre Burrows Slashing against Ryan Ellis|