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Game 52: Power outage

by Daniel Fung / Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks' power play has been a sore spot for them for much of this season and, on Thursday, it cost them a chance at a victory.

Craig Smith and Nick Spaling each scored a third period goal to lift the visiting Nashville Predators to a 2-1 come-from-behind win over the Canucks. Chris Higgins had the lone marker for the Canucks, who saw their modest two-game win streak come to an end.

The Canucks carried a 1-0 lead into the final frame but surrendered the tying goal just 3:28 into the period when Smith wired a one-timer from the right faceoff circle on a set-up by Nick Spaling past Roberto Luongo's glove.

The Preds would go up for good at 12:38 of the final frame when Seth Jones' point shot in the dying seconds of a Nashville power play deflected off the stick of Spaling and past Luongo.

The fact this game was as close as it was heading into the final period spoke volumes about the Canucks' inept offence, particularly on the man-advantage.

Vancouver had several opportunities to open the scoring even before Higgins eventually got the home team on the board midway through the game when they enjoyed three power plays in the opening period but came up empty each time.

The power play also had a chance to generate a game-tying goal late in regulation but was thwarted once again and ended up finishing the contest going 0-for-5.

Luongo stopped 24 of 26 shots in the loss while Predators netminder Carter Hutton turned aside 33 of 34 shots to help the Predators snap their four-game losing streak against the Canucks dating back to last season.

The Canucks play the second game of their four-game home stand on Sunday when they host Phoenix Coyotes.

Ryan Stanton made his return to the Canuck'’ lineup after missing 15 games with an ankle injury. He took the spot of Yannick Weber on the Canucks' blue-line and finished with 11:32 of ice-time... Including its 0-for-5 effort on Thursday, the Canucks power play has scored just once in its last four games going 1-for-19 during that stretch (5.3 percent)... The Predators were the NHL's best faceoff team heading into the game but the Canucks won 62 percent of the draws on Thursday.

CALL TO THE HALL: Shea Weber not only left with two points for his Predators club on Thursday but also with the knowledge that he'll soon be immortalized in the BC Hockey Hall of Fame as part of 2003.04 Memorial Cup champions, Kelowna Rockets. The BC Hockey Hall of Fame announced its 2014 inductees earlier on Thursday morning and the 2013.14 Rockets, whom Weber was a member of, were among this year's Class. Also headed to the Hall as part of the Class of 2014 is former Canucks' netminder Kirk McLean, who spent 11 seasons in Vancouver and guided the team to Game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup Final.

PROSPAL IN THE PROSPECTS?: As first reported by Sportsnet's Dan Murphy, long-time NHL veteran Vinny Prospal skated with the Utica Comets (AHL) in Abbotsford on Thursday and is expected to be signed to a professional tryout contract by the team. Prospal, a veteran of 1,108 NHL games, is currently an unrestricted free agent after spending last season with Columbus where he tallied 12 goals and 30 points in 48 games. Prospal, who has 255 career NHL goals and 765 career NHL points, is especially familiar with the Canucks' currently-suspended head coach, John Tortorella, having played with him in both Tampa Bay and New York.

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