The Vancouver Canucks began a dismal two-week slide with a loss to the Nashville Predators at the end of October. But thanks to the play of their veterans, the Canucks are back on track and poised to avenge that defeat.
Vancouver goes for its fourth straight win Thursday when it visits Nashville for the third meeting between the teams this season.
The Canucks lost 3-2 to the Predators on Oct. 31—the first of six defeats in seven games. Vancouver (11-10-1) has bounced back with a season-high three straight wins, including a 4-3 overtime victory Wednesday over Detroit.
Veteran center Brendan Morrison entered the contest with just four goals and five assists, but tied the game with a third-period power play goal and scored 3:01 into overtime for the win.
“I’m really happy for Brendan. Things haven’t gone the way he would have wanted it to go,” Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. “He stayed focused. By his hard work he was able to give us two huge goals tonight.”
Markus Naslund began the Canucks’ rally from a two-goal deficit with his third-period tally. The veteran right wing has four goals in his last three games to boost his team-leading total to 11.
“We got a great forecheck going and I had a chance to get a shot on net and Naslund put it upstairs,” said Canucks center Henrik Sedin, who assisted on Naslund’s goal to improve his team-high point total to 22. “It was a goal scorer’s goal.”
Naslund has also scored plenty of goals against the Predators, recording 13, along with 17 assists, in 30 career games. He will try to help Vancouver extend its winning streak, while Nashville (13-5-2) is hoping to rebound from its second shutout loss of the season.
The Predators had a 4-0-1 point streak snapped Wednesday with a 1-0 loss to the Dallas Stars. Nashville has suffered just two regulation losses in its last 17 games—both by shutout—after starting the season 0-3.
Nashville registered a season-low 17 shots Wednesday, when it was outshot 10-3 in the final period. Goaltender Tomas Vokoun is 10-4-1 with a 3.60 goals-against average, but couldn’t stop Jeff Halpern’s third-period goal.
“It came off the boards and right back out to (Halpern),” said Vokoun, who is 7-6-1 with a tie and a 2.46 GAA in 20 career games versus Vancouver. “It’s something you really can’t prevent. Sometimes you get a good bounce and sometimes you get a bad one. It was just a bad break, but sometimes that’s part of hockey.”
The Predators suffered one of those tough breaks earlier this week when center Jason Arnott, who has seven goals and nine assists, hurt his left knee and is expected be sidelined three to six weeks after arthroscopic surgery.
Nashville struggled in its first game without Arnott, but will try to get back on track Thursday against Vancouver netminder Roberto Luongo. He made 27 saves Wednesday to improve to 11-9-1 with a 2.44 GAA, but is 2-4 with three ties and a 2.51 GAA in nine lifetime games against the Predators.
Luongo and Vokoun have been between the pipes for both meetings between these teams this season, and each has won on the road.