Spaling scored the winning goal on a power play and assisted on
Nashville's other marker as the Predators posted a 2-1 comeback win
over the Vancouver Canucks.
The Predators prevailed after overcoming a 1-0 second-period deficit
and being badly outplayed in the first 40 minutes
"That's something we still don't want to do," said Spaling, a
25-year-old Palmerston, Ont., native. "It's just a lot more
comfortable when we play with the lead."
The Predators (23-22-7) posted their second straight win while the
Canucks (26-17-9) saw their win streak end at two games as they lost
for the ninth time in the past 12 outings.
Spaling deflected home defenseman Seth Jones slap shot on a power
play at 12:38 of the third. Center Craig Smith also tallied for
Nashville as he one-timed Spaling's pass from behind the net.
Left winger Chris Higgins scored for the Canucks, who enjoyed a
34-26 edge in shots.
Ultimately, the Predators won with their penalty-killing success,
while the Canucks lost because they could not score on the power
The Canucks were blanked on five power plays, while the Predators
converted 1 of 4 man-advantage opportunities.
Vancouver failed to score on a four-minute advantage in the
scoreless first period after Predators center Matt Cullen received a
double-minor for high-sticking. Just 15 seconds after Cullen came
out of the penalty box, Nashville center Paul Gaustad was sent off
for cross-checking Vancouver center Ryan Kesler, but again the
Canucks could not capitalize, and were unsuccessful again in the
second and late in the third.
"We had some great looks on the power play," said acting Canucks
coach Mike Sullivan. "We had probably four backdoor opportunities
that we didn't finish on."
"We were definitely confident (after the second)," said Nashville
goaltender Carter Hutton, who stopped 33 shots in the game. "We just
had to make some adjustments and we were able to find the back there
on that late power play and make it 2-1. It was pretty good. And
from there, I thought we were able to lock (the win) down
After Higgins scored on a deflection midway through the second,
Smith created a 1-1 tie only 3:28 into the third period as he sent
Spaling's pass over Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo, who recorded 24
saves in the loss.
[to top of second column]
After staying disciplined most of the game, the Canucks took
a pair of hooking penalties to Kesler and left winger Alex
Burrows 2:40 apart. The hosts killed the first power play, but
while Burrows was still in the box, a Jones shot was tipped by
Spaling and eluded Luongo, giving the Predators a 2-1 advantage
that was anything but expected, considering the way the visitors
opened the game.
But Predators captain Shea Weber indicated his club remained
confident heading into the final period.
"We just knew we had to get going," said Weber. "It was kind of
slow there in the second. We played a lot in our own zone. We
just needed to get moving, get skating in the third there."
As Weber lamented his team's start, Sullivan was wishing for a
better finish — to the game and Vancouver's scoring chances.
The Canucks' power play continued to struggle and the same went
for their offense in five-on-five situations.
"For me, it's progress in the right direction," Sullivan said of
the power play. "The next step is, we've gotta finish. We've
gotta find a way to put (the puck) in the net."
NOTES: Canucks coach John Tortorella served the second of a
six-game suspension for storming the Calgary Flames dressing
room area after the first period Saturday. Assistant Mike
Sullivan again assumed the head coaching duties. ... D Ryan
Stanton returned to Vancouver's lineup after missing 15 games
with a sprained ankle. C Mike Santorelli came back after missing
two with an undisclosed injury. ... Predators assistant coach
Lane Lambert missed the game because he returned to Nashville to
be with his wife as she began chemotherapy treatments. Player
personnel director Scott Nichol took his place for the first of
four games. ... D Michael Del Zotto played his first game as a
Predator after being acquired in a trade a day earlier from the
New York Rangers for fellow D Kevin Klein. ... The Canucks sent
C Jordan Schroeder to the Utica Comets of the AHL on a
conditioning stint to recuperate from a fractured ankle. The
Comets play two games in nearby Abbotsford, B.C., on Friday and
Saturday, so Schroeder did not have far to travel. He is
expected to be recalled early next week. ... Former Canucks G
Kirk McLean was among the inductees into British Columbia Hockey
Hall of Fame announced earlier Thursday.
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