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Sullivan beats Canucks with late goal

by Staff Writer / Nashville Predators

Scott Hartnell celebrates Alexander Radulov's first-period goal.
Photo by Getty/Jeff Vinnick
Predators forward Scott Hartnell (right) celebrates Alexander Radulov's first-period goal, which ricocheted off defender Mattias Ohlund past goaltender Roberto Luong

Predators forward Steve Sullivan was stopped on a breakaway with less than six minutes remaining but stuck with the play and was able to chip the puck over prone goaltender Roberto Luongo to give Nashville a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday night in GM Place. The victory extends the Predators' road win streak to five games and improves the club's record to 7-3-1.

Alexander Radulov and Ryan Suter scored first-period goals as Nashville ran out to a 2-0 lead before giving up a goal late in the second period. Radulov's tally was the result of good pressure by the trio of him, David Legwand, and Scott Hartnell. The unit had generated several good scoring chances before Radulov scored a fluky goal on what seemed to be the most harmless. The 20-year-old rookie winger retrieved the puck along the left wall and fired it on goal without hesitation. The shot ricocheted off Canucks defenseman Mattias Ohlund and past Luongo to make it 1-0 at 5:33.

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Suter's goal came less than three minutes later with Vancouver's Rory Fitzpatrick penalized for hooking. A new power-play unit comprised of Sullivan, Jason Arnott, J.P. Dumont, Suter and Kimmo Timonen hit on its first-ever opportunity with the man advantage. With possession in Vancouver's zone and Nashville set up in an umbrella formation, Arnott sent the puck from his position in the left circle down low to Sullivan at the left side of the net. Suter snuck in from his position on the right side and one-timed Sullivan's centering pass by Luongo into the far side of the net. That made it 2-0 at 8:11.

The Predators had put together a solid, penalty-free period and a half before a frustrated Vern Fiddler took a two-minute trip to the penalty box for firing the puck at Luongo after an offsides whistle. Nashville's penalty killers negated Vancouver's subsequent manpower advantage, but the pressure generated by the home side led to another penalty--this time to Mikko Lehtonen for hooking--40 seconds after Fiddler's expired. The Preds' short-handed unit was strong again, but gave up a goal to blueliner Mattias Ohlund at 17:41, just as Vancouver's power play expired.

Tomas Vokoun, Jan Bulis, Kimmo Timonen, Brendan Morrison
Photo by Getty/Jeff Vinnick
Predators goaltender Tomas Vokoun makes a save with Vancouver's Jan Bulis and Nashville's Kimmo Timonen battling in front of him.

Vancouver knotted the game 8:12 into the third on a goal by Markus Naslund. Predators goaltender Tomas Vokoun had just turned aside a point shot by Sami Salo when Arnott's attempt to clear the zone was kept in by Salo. Naslund pulled the puck off the right-side boards and moved to the center of the ice before firing. His shot hit Vokoun but managed to trickle through the goaltender's legs and into the net.

Sullivan, who had already been stopped by Luongo's glove on a breakaway 5:49 into the final period, took a different approach when J.P. Dumont sent him in alone with just over 14:00 gone. Sullivan tried to go five hole but was denied by Luongo, who coughed up the puck and ended up prone along the width of the goal mouth. From the right side of the net, Sullivan reached back for the loose disc with his stick and backhanded it just inside the left post to put Nashville up 3-2 at 14:19.

Vokoun stopped 22 of 24 shots he faced Tuesday to record his third consecutive win and his sixth victory of the season. Both teams posted 24 shots, with the Canucks evening out an early Predators advantage by outshooting the visitors 10-6 in the final 20 minutes.

Next the Predators travel to Edmonton for a Wednesday night match-up with the Oilers. It will be Nashville's second set of back-to-back road games this season. They swept the first set, defeating the New York Rangers on Oct. 18 and the New Jersey Devils on Oct. 19. Following the Edmonton game, the Predators will wrap up their current trip with a tilt against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.

NOTES: Steve Sullivan's two-point performance Tuesday (1g-1a) marks his third multi-point game of the season... Jason Arnott recorded one assist to extend his assist streak to three games. Likewise, David Legwand bumped his assist streak to three games with a helper. Arnott and Legwand each now have six assists on the season... Jason Arnott is now tied with Martin Erat for the team lead in scoring with 11 points (5g-6a). Erat's five-game point streak was snapped Tuesday... Ryan Suter's goal, his second of the season, was the first power-play tally of his career. Suter fired the second highest number of shots (5) by any skater. Steve Sullivan led all players with 6 shots... Attendance at GM Place was 18,630--Vancouver's fourth sellout of the season... Darcy Hordichuk, Greg Zanon, Josef Vasicek and Scottie Upshall were out of the lineup for Nashville.


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