The Vancouver Canucks are moving on to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs after beating the Nashville Predators 1-0 at Bridgestone Arena.

Artūrs Šilovs held it down between the pipes to be the first rookie goalie in franchise history with a series-clinching win. Šilovs turned aside all 28 shots he faced.

“I just embraced the challenge. I knew I had already played in big stages before, so I was already familiar with what could happen, what kind of games they’re going to be,” Šilovs said, adding, “It’s a great opportunity for me to play for a big club, and seizing the opportunity is even better.”

He compared the pressure of the moment to competing with Latvia with the World Championships last summer in his home country.

Pius Suter bookended the series with goals and scored the game-winning goal in game six to help push the Canucks past the Predators. A game after Suter took a puck to the mouth, he was relentless on the ice, putting up five shots on goal and finding the back of the net at 1:39 in the third period.

This is the first taste of NHL playoff hockey for Suter, and he says his playoff and finals experience in Champions Hockey League in Switzerland was beneficial. He just took the games shift by shift.

“Just playing the right way, making the right reads, and obviously great linemates. We understand each other well. It’s my first playoff series here, obviously it’s a different league, but I played some playoff hockey back home and finals too, so I guess I had some experience with that. It’s different players, but the mindset of it and how you want to play is kind of the same,” Suter said.

After Suter missed his first few shots Head Coach Rick Tocchet encouraged him to continue to do the right things and look to score.

“With 13 minutes left in the third I said ‘Just keep going there, don’t worry about it.’ He was getting a little frustrated, he had some great chances. I thought he played really well, not that he scored the goal, but the fact that he kept going there was a key, right, that’s what playoff hockey is. Might not happen for a while, but if you keep going to those spots it’ll happen and it happened for Suts and a big game-winning goal for us,” Tocchet said.

To move on and grind out games in low event hockey is something Head Coach Rick Tocchet has preached to his players that will be important in the playoffs and has helped them move on to the second round.

“We’ve grown as a team. We’re not pretty, we are who we are, but we hang in, and the guys buy-in and to keep that team to zero [points] and I think the way we played defence really helps us stay in the game. Would we like more offence, of course. Hopefully, some of those goals will go in for us in the next series, but I think the buy-in on the way we play defence is keeping us in and has been a fabric for our team this year,” he said.

Game Summary

Neither team scored in the first two periods, but the Canucks held a slight advantage with 19 shots on goal compared to Nashville’s 17 shots on goal through that 40-minute stretch.

The Canucks held the advantage on shots 29-28 with 12 shots on goal in both the second and third periods. Vancouver was a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill on the evening, including a double-minor kill in the second period.

Pius Suter’s goal came off a backhanded pass from Brock Boeser to Suter net front, beating Juuse Saros blocker side.

“We won a couple battles and squeezed it [the goal] in there, it was a really nice pass,” Suter said.

With a Canucks’ penalty at 0:34, Nashville had a 6-on-4 and while they peppered shots at the net Ian Cole, J.T. Miller, Tyler Myers and Šilovs dove and packed the crease to stop the puck. 

Suter said the last 34 seconds were nailbiters.

“Especially once the scramble mode starts and guys are laying on the ice, playing like a soccer goalie out there, like Mysey, just kind of jumping around trying to block the shots. Obviously, you just hope the puck just bobbles over a stick or something and goes out to someone and those guys did a great job,” Suter said.

The Canucks will face the Edmonton Oilers in the second round and time of the the first game is TBD.