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Predators top battered Canucks 3-1 @NHL
Mike Fisher will trade a few stitches for a goal and a win any time.

Fisher got stitched up after taking a puck off his right cheekbone Thursday night and came back to score his first goal since being traded to Nashville. He scored 49 seconds after Nick Spaling's go-ahead goal late in the second period, and the Predators beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-1 night for their third victory in four games.

"It took a while to get stitched up, but after that it was just stopping the bleeding," Fisher said. "I felt fine."

The Predators needed Fisher because forward Marcel Goc was injured early in the second period and didn't return. Steve Sullivan also got hit by a puck to the face in the period and was taken to a local hospital for tests. That left Nashville coach Barry Trotz with just 10 forwards for much of the night.

"It was a potpourri of lines that you saw out there," Trotz said.

Martin Erat had a goal and an assist, and Fisher's goal was his first since he was traded to Nashville a week ago. The win pushed the Predators out of a tie with four other teams and into fourth in the Western Conference.

Nashville evened the season series at a win apiece. Vancouver, which leads the West, remained the NHL's top team with 83 points.

Daniel Sedin scored a power-play goal for the Canucks, who were playing their third game in four nights. Kevin Bieksa was a scratch due to a broken foot -- the seventh Vancouver defenseman to go down with an injury. All the injuries and a couple of rookie replacements had defenseman Christian Ehrhoff on the ice for a game-high 27 minutes, 13 seconds.

"That's definitely not the best team they can put on the ice, but at the same time they still had their top three lines and their fourth line," Predators defenseman Shane O'Brien said. "That brings them some energy. So it was a good challenge."

Vancouver didn't lack for chances. The Canucks outshot Nashville 36-26, but goalie Pekka Rinne stopped 35 shots and improved to 15-2-1 when his team scores at least three goals.

Fisher played only 3:12 of the first after taking a puck to his right cheek midway through the period. He went directly to the dressing room for stitches but returned. Sullivan wasn't so lucky -- he took a puck to his face late in the second and didn't come back. Trotz said he would have an update Friday.

David Legwand tried to pass to Sullivan in the left circle for a shot, but the puck deflected off a stick and into Sullivan's face. He dropped immediately to the ice where he was tended to before slowly skating off.

All the scoring took place in a span of less than five minutes late in the second period.

Erat put the Predators up 1-0 when he scored his 10th off a rebound of his own shot from the slot with a wrister past Roberto Luongo at 14:13. Nashville was called for too many men on the ice at 17:47, and Sedin scored with a wrister from the right circle off an assist from twin brother Henrik 28 seconds later for a rare goal against the NHL's best penalty killers on home ice.

But off the faceoff, Patric Hornqvist corralled the puck near the boards and fired at the net, where Spaling backhanded the puck past Luongo just seven seconds later to put Nashville back in front. Fisher, stitches and all, tipped Alexander Sulzer's slap shot past Luongo for a 3-1 lead at 19:11.

Trotz said scoring so quickly was huge for the Predators. Luongo said he didn't see Fisher's goal.

"It was a pretty good tip by him, reaching out and deflecting it with the tip of his stick back towards the net. I didn't see if it was a hand pass or not, but it was a pretty good play by Fisher," Luongo said.

Rinne stopped all nine Vancouver shots in the third period.

"Their goalie played well," Canucks center Ryan Kesler said. "He won them the game. They got a couple of lucky bounces there that obviously when you tie the game and then give up two goals in 50 seconds you're not going to come back against a team like that."

Material from team media and wire services was used in this report

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