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Vancouver Canucks 2, Nashville Predators 0

by Kevin Woodley / Nashville Predators

VANCOUVER -- Rookie Nicklas Jensen continued to provide a much-needed spark for the Vancouver Canucks' offense.

Jensen snapped a scoreless tie 6:06 into the third period and Alexander Edler added a power-play goal 1:13 later to lead the Canucks to a 2-0 win against the Nashville Predators on Wednesday night at Rogers Arena.

Goalie Eddie Lack made 30 saves for his rookie-leading fourth shutout of the season as the Canucks (32-30-10) moved within three points of the Phoenix Coyotes in the race for the second Western Conference wild-card position in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Vancouver has 10 games left in the regular season; the Coyotes have 13 and the Dallas Stars, who are one point ahead of the Canucks, have 14 games to play.

Goaltender Carter Hutton started for the Predators one night after replacing Pekka Rinne midway through the third period of a 5-1 loss against the Edmonton Oilers, and finished with 20 saves.

Nashville's third straight loss dropped the Predators (29-31-10) six points behind Vancouver and nine behind the Coyotes for the second wild-card spot.

Captain Henrik Sedin assisted on both goals as Vancouver alternated between wins and losses for a seventh straight game.

Jensen opened the scoring after Sedin lost the puck in the slot, only to see it bounce right to the rookie forward inside the right faceoff dot for a quick wrist shot that went over Hutton's glove. It was Jensen's third goal in four games, and his fifth point in seven games since being called up from the American Hockey League and put on the top line.

The goal may have been costly, however, as linemate Alexandre Burrows threw off his left glove after appearing to take a slash from Shea Weber as the puck went into the net. Burrows, who snapped a 35-game goal drought with five goals in the past four games after Jensen was put on his line, went straight to the dressing room and did not return.

Edler doubled the lead on Vancouver's first power play, with Sedin winning the ensuing faceoff after Victor Bartley was called for interference. Kevin Bieksa fed the puck across to Edler for a one-timer that beat Hutton low on the glove side.

Rinne had started seven of eight games after returning from a hip infection that kept him out of the lineup more than four months.

Defenseman Michael Del Zotto was a surprise healthy scratch as the Predators shook up their lineup, including four new forward lines, after the lopsided loss to the last-place Oilers on Tuesday.

Nashville lost center Paul Gaustad to an upper-body injury late in the first period. Gaustad appeared to hit his head on the ice after being taken down by Edler on a partial break. Gaustad, who has nine goals and 16 points in 70 games, was slow to get up, then went straight to the dressing room and did not return.

The Canucks, coming off a four-game road trip that ended with a 4-3 loss against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday, needed 8:27 to record their first shot and were outshot 14-7 in the first period. Lack was forced to make his best three saves on Patric Hornqvist, including a couple of great point-blank chances late in the period.

Hutton answered while the Predators were being outshot 11-7 in the second period, throwing out his right pad to rob Burrows in tight, and was working on his first NHL shutout until Jensen sparked the third-period outburst.

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