Predators 2, Canucks 1

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[January 27, 2016]  VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Right winger James Neal scored with 4:44 left in the third period to snap a 1-1 tie and give the Nashville Predators a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night.

The Predators took advantage of a bad line change by the Canucks. Neal took a pass from defenseman Barret Jackman, skated into the Vancouver zone, and beat Canuck goaltender Ryan Miller with a high shot from the faceoff circle for his 18th goal of the season.

Right winger Craig Smith also scored for Nashville (23-18-8). Defenseman Mattias Ekholm had an assist to give him five points (two goals, three assists) in the last four games.

Center Brandon Sutter, who returned to Vancouver's lineup after missing 33 games with a sports hernia, scored for the Canucks (20-19-11). Vancouver was playing its first game at home after a six-game road trip.


Miller stopped 17 shots. Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne, who stopped 49 of 51 shots in the Predators previous two wins, made 28 saves.

Vancouver outshot Nashville 12-5 in the second period but the teams remained tied heading into the third.

The Predators scored in the opening minute of the game but the Canucks managed to tie the score before the period ended.

Smith made it 1-0 with 59 second gone on Nashville's second shot. Center Mike Fisher battled for the puck in the Canuck zone, then flipped it toward the net from along the boards. Fisher fought off a check from Vancouver defenseman Ben Hutton and deflected the puck past Miller.

Sutter, playing on Vancouver's top line, tied the game at 11:39, working a pretty give-and-go with left winger Daniel Sedin. Sutter carried the puck across the blue line, then dropped it back to Sedin. Sutter used his speed to get past the Nashville defense, then took a return pass from Sedin before putting a shot past Rinne.

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NOTES: The Canucks had a .394 winning percentage since losing C Brandon Sutter Nov. 10 due to sports hernia surgery. ... Vancouver scratched C Jared McCann, D Yannick Weber and LW Brandon Prust, who sat for a third consecutive game. ... Canucks RW Jake Virtanen played with a black eye suffered in the morning skate. ... D Dan Hamhuis, out since Dec. 9 with facial fractures, is practicing with the Canucks wearing a full cage and could return to the lineup after the All-Star break. ... Vancouver C Henrik Sedin (undisclosed injury) is expected to resume practicing after the All-Star break. ... Predators D Mattias Ekholm is averaging over four more minutes a night in ice time since D Seth Jones was traded to Columbus. ... Nashville D Anthony Bitetto and LW Kevin Fiala were healthy scratches. ... The Predators end their four-game road trip Wednesday in Calgary.

[ 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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