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
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.
[to top of second column]
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
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