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game recap

Predators rally, defeat Canucks in shootout

Nashville moves within two points of third place in Central

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent

Smith's nifty shootout goal

VAN@NSH: Smith makes nifty moves for shootout winner

3/24/16: Craig Smith pulls out several dekes and waits out Ryan Miller to lift the puck for the shootout winner

  • 00:27 •

NASHVILLE -- Craig Smith's goal in the fourth round of the shootout gave the Nashville Predators a 3-2 win against the Vancouver Canucks at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday.

Nashville (38-23-13) trailed 2-0 heading into the third period. With the win, the Predators pulled within two points of the Chicago Blackhawks for third place in the Central Division.

"I don't think we can be happy with our first and second period," Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne said. "The second was better than the first. I don't know what's the reason, but we've been really strong in the third period as of late and that was a key for us again."

Filip Forsberg tied the game 2-2 at 13:08 of the third period on a wraparound. Forsberg retrieved the rebound of a shot from defenseman Mattias Ekholm and got the puck past Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller for his 31st goal.

Video: VAN@NSH: Forsberg's goal knots it at 2 in the 3rd

"We came right out from the gates in the third period and just attacked," Forsberg said. "We just wanted to get the first goal, and obviously [Predators forward James Neal] had a big goal for us and got the crowd really into it as well. We just built from there, and obviously it was a huge win."

Neal scored to make it 2-1 at 11:56. Neal took a pass forward Colin Wilson from behind the net and shot it past Miller for his 29th goal. 

"There's no way you can play 60 minutes of 100 percent effort for 82 times a year," Ekholm said. "You're going to have your ups and downs. In games like this, it's huge points for us. To be able to turn it on for like period or a little bit more than a period and just to win the game in that time is huge. You can't be on top of your game every night. I thought the way we battled back in this and once we got going really shows how our fans just get into the game and how we feed off of them in the third there."

The Predators are 1-12 in games decided in the 3-on-3 overtime period this season but are 4-1 in the shootout.

"Huge, especially thinking about losing so many overtime games," Rinne said. "If our shootout record would be bad, that would be losing a ton of points. This was our fourth shootout wins so that's four extra points, huge points. You look at the standings and if we would be four points back, it's easy to kind of see how big these are."

Video: VAN@NSH: Horvat scores to end Canucks' goal drought

Canucks forward Bo Horvat gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead at 6:52 of the first period. Forward Sven Baertschi took the original shot, and Horvat was able to get to the rebound and shoot it past Rinne.

Horvat's goal broke a scoreless drought for the Canucks that spanned a franchise record 234 minutes and 52 seconds. 

Canucks forward Daniel Sedin gave the Canucks a 2-0 lead at 14:39 of the first period on a power play. Forward Henrik Sedin made the pass from behind the net, and Daniel Sedin one-timed it past Rinne for his 27th goal.

Video: VAN@NSH: Rinne stands tall to complete comeback

"I thought it was a good effort," Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said. "I thought we started well right at the start of the game. I thought they had a push to start the second. I thought we finished the second pretty good, and I thought we played good in the third. We gave up two, but I didn't think we were bad in the third."

Canucks forward Jannik Hansen returned after missing 11 games with a rib injury. He joined Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin on the top line.

"It makes a difference," Desjardins said. "Just having that, I think [Henrik and Daniel] were better tonight. They were excited with getting [Hansen] back to help that line."

Video: NSH Recap: Predators score two in 3rd, win in SO

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