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game recap

Predators take over first place in Central with win against Canucks

Johansen breaks tie with 21 seconds left in third period

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent

Johansen's clutch backhand goal

VAN@NSH: Johansen nets go-ahead goal in final seconds

Ryan Johansen puts the Predators up 3-2 with a backhand that deflects off a stick and past Jacob Markstrom with just seconds left in the 3rd

  • 01:04 •

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators took over first place in the Central Division with a 3-2 win against the Vancouver Canucks at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday.

The Predators (46-29-6) are one point ahead of the St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg Jets, who are tied for second place. The Blues defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 7-3 on Thursday, and the Jets lost to the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 in overtime. Each has one game remaining.

Ryan Johansen scored on a deflected shot with 21 seconds remaining in the third period to make it 3-2. He attempted a pass to Viktor Arvidsson, but puck went off the stick of Canucks defenseman Troy Stecher and past goalie Jacob Markstrom.


[WATCH: All Canucks vs. Predators highlights]


"We definitely got better as the game went along," Johansen said. "I really liked our third period, how we stayed on the gas. Even with that last minute there we wanted to win the game."

Nick Bonino tied it 2-2 at 15:40 of the third on a rebound for the Predators after Ryan Ellis took the original shot from the point.

Video: VAN@NSH: Bonino ties game late in the 3rd period

The Canucks challenged for goaltender interference, but the call was upheld.

"We played a little harder, played a little bit more simple, especially with their neutral zone," Bonino said. "We turned it over a lot in the first. We tried to stick-handle through it. Simplified the second and third, got pucks behind them and it seemed like we had more zone time and wore them down a little bit more."

Markus Granlund gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead at 8:49 of the first period on a backhand shot from in front of the net on the power play.

"Really frustrating," Markstrom said. "I feel like it's tough to keep a lead for us. We're playing really good and then there were some crazy goals today. It's frustrating. I thought we should've won this game, but it is what it is. We got a couple bounces against us."

Tanner Pearson made it 2-0 at 19:48 on a shot from the slot on the power play. The puck went off the crossbar and off the back of Predators goalie Pekka Rinne for Pearson's 17th goal.

Video: VAN@NSH: Pearson banks shot off Rinne and in

Colton Sissons cut the lead to 2-1 37 seconds into the second period on a wrist shot from the right circle.

"There's no complacency, obviously," Sissons said. "There's been tough hockey games. Since Christmas I've felt like we've been in tight hockey games and it's been intense and tough and a grind just to fight for that division and fight for our spot. I think it'll help us starting the playoffs that we didn't kick our feet up and relax for a week or two."


They said it

"Yeah, off of [Stecher's] stick, that's the way she goes sometimes. It's unfortunate, obviously. It would've been nice to at least get one point after they tied it up and we were 30 seconds away from that, but sometimes the bounces don't go your way." -- Canucks forward Tanner Pearson

"That might be the most impressive thing I've ever seen [Filip Forsberg] do, being his linemate for years now. That's one of those plays where I can't wait to look at it again. The just absolute relentless, talented way to get the puck, strip the puck, get it back, make a play, that was world-class. It was impressive." -- Predators forward Ryan Johansen on Filip Forsberg's play to keep the puck in the zone on the game-winning goal

Video: Dunkin' NHL Comebacks: Predators roar past Canucks


Need to know

Canucks defenseman Brogan Rafferty had one shot on goal in 12:03 in his NHL debut. … Canucks forward Brock Boeser had a game-high seven shots on goal. … Rinne made 30 saves. He is 10-4-1 in his past 15 starts. … Markstrom made 30 saves. 


What's next

Canucks: At the St. Louis Blues on Saturday (4 p.m. ET; NHLN, FS-MW, SNP, NHL.TV)

Predators: Host the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; FS-TN, NBCSCH, NHL.TV)

Video: Predators score three unanswered goals in 3-2 win

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