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Hard-working forwards' heroics spell early night for Predators goaltender Rinne

Friday, 03.15.2013 / 12:55 AM / News

The Canadian Press

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Hard-working forwards' heroics spell early night for Predators goaltender Rinne

VANCOUVER - Andrew Ebbett and Jannik Hansen both scored a goal and added two assists as the Vancouver Canucks beat the Nashville Predators 7-4 in NHL action Thursday night.

Ebbett's goal was his first of the season, which he has split between the Canucks and the minors. Hansen's three-point night was the first of his NHL career, which began with 10 playoff games in 2006-07.

The Canucks (13-7-6) posted their second-straight win while the Predators (11-10-6) had a rare off night defensively. Vancouver led 3-1 after the first period and 5-2 after the second before the Predators narrowed the gap briefly.

Alex Edler, Mason Raymond, Max Lapierre, Henrik Sedin on a penalty shot, and David Booth, into an empty net, also scored for the Canucks.

Matt Halischuk, Nick Spaling, Mike Fisher and Gabriel Bourque replied for the Predators, who outshot the Canucks 33-22.

All goals came at even strength as Nashville was blanked on four power plays and Vancouver went scoreless on two.

Nashville starting goaltender Pekka Rinne entered the game with two shutouts in his previous three games. But Ebbett, recalled Monday from Chicao of the AHL, opened scoring only 1:25 into the game after Hansen stole the puck off Nashville defenceman Scott Hannan behind the net and sent it out front. The goal ended Rinne's even-strength shutout streak at 186 minutes and 21 seconds.

Rinne was partly to blame though as he decided to leave the puck for Hannan instead of clearing it.

But Halischuk tied the score 1-1 two and a half minutes later as he jammed in his own rebound.

Edler put Vancouver ahead less than two minutes later as he ripped home a slap shot following a face-off. Raymond put the Canucks ahead 3-1 with just under two minutes left in the first period as he one-timed Ebbett's cross-ice pass. Hansen also assisted on the goal.

Goaltender Roberto Luongo preserved Vancouver's lead as he stopped Nashville captain Shea Weber on a one-timer with just over four minutes left in the first.

Lapierre increased the Canucks' advantage to 4-1 five and a half minutes into the second period as he scored on a breakaway coming out of the penalty box. He took a stretch pass from Dale Weise at Nashville's blue-line and beat Rinne with a shot through the legs.

The goal ended Rinne's night as coach Barry Trotz pulled him in favour of Chris Mason. Only 29 seconds later, Spaling reduced Nashville's deficit to 4-2 as his goal-mouth pass went in off Vancouver defenceman Kevin Bieksa.

But Hansen restored Vancouver's three-goal lead at 13:48 of the second period. While skating down the wing, he directed the puck at Mason and Preds defenceman Ryan Ellis fell and carried the disk and Mason into the net.

Vancouver's two second-period goals came on only four shots, while Nashville unleashed 12 at Luongo.

Fisher pulled the Predators to 5-3 as he beat Luongo with a backhand from the slot at 6:38 of the third period. Martin Erat had a chance to close the gap further midway through the final frame, but fired the puck way over the net while looking at an open top corner.

Bourque drew the Predators within a goal at 15:21 of the third. But Nashville's comeback hopes were short lived.

Henrik Sedin deked Mason on a penalty shot just over two minutes later after the Canucks captain was hooked on a breakaway. Then Booth scored into an empty net when Lapierre decided to pass instead of shooting.

The goal came shortly after both Lapierre and Booth hit the post with the Nashville net empty.

Notes: The Canucks saluted Canada's armed forces before and after the game. ... Bieksa returned to Vancouver's lineup after missing five games with a groin injury. ... Cancuks winger Steve Pinizzotto, 28, played his first NHL game after toiling in 285 minor-league contests. The Mississauga, Ont., native was recalled earlier Thursday from the Chicago Wolves of the AHL and quickly made his presence known by fighting Kevin Klein on his first shift. ... The Preds played without injured top scorer Colin Wilson (upper body) as well as defenceman Hal Gill (lower body) and forwards Patric Hornqvist (upper body) and Paul Gaustad (upper body) ... As a result of Pinizzotto's recall, Vancouver winger Tom Sestito was scratched along with defencemen Keith Ballard and Cam Barker.

Quote of the Day

We want to make sure that whoever makes our team really makes our team by earning it and not putting them in situations where they get preference because of their status as a first-round pick or whatever it might be. That's not going to happen. Everybody has to earn their way on our team.

— Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen on the team's prospects at development camp