In the thick of the Western Conference playoff race, the Nashville Predators and the Vancouver Canucks have both been battling for 60 minutes - and then some - to pick up much-needed points. They’ll meet Thursday in Nashville with hopes of doing the same.
The Predators (32-23-7) rallied to defeat Edmonton 5-4 on Tuesday, improving to 4-1-1 since Feb. 10.
The comeback victory came after a weekend of overtime games. On Saturday, Nashville scored a third-period goal and added another in the extra session to beat St. Louis 2-1. The next day against Minnesota, the Predators rallied from two goals down in the third, only to lose 5-4.
On Tuesday, Nashville led 3-1 in the second period before allowing the Oilers to score three goals in just over two minutes. Jason Arnott then scored his 21st goal of the season to tie the score, and J.P Dumont, who had missed the previous two games with the flu, scored the winner at 18:05 of the third.
“That’s not the kind of hockey we want to play,” said Dumont, who has three goals and six assists during a four-game point streak. “But we’ll take the two points.
“We have a lot of stuff to clean up, especially the way we played away from the puck. That’s usually the best part of the game for us playing good two-way hockey. We have to look forward and make sure we take care of that.”
Vancouver (30-22-8), meanwhile, picked up an important point in the Northwest Division race on Tuesday with a 3-2 overtime victory over the first-place Wild.
The Canucks are 3-0-1 since Feb. 10, with three of those games going to overtime.
On Tuesday, Vancouver trailed 2-1 in the third period before Markus Naslund tied the game with a power-play goal with 5:19 remaining. In overtime, Henrik Sedin set up twin brother Daniel for the winner.
“It’s huge not only in the division race, but we’re battling for a playoff spot,” said Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo, who stopped 20 shots. “Even though we scored a goal to tie it up, I think we really needed to go for the win and get an extra point there. We played a great game for 60 minutes and we deserved to win.”
Luongo has recorded a 2.38 goals-against average in the Canucks’ last four games after going just 2-5-3 with a 2.93 GAA in his previous 10 starts. In his only start against the Predators this season on Nov. 1, Luongo made just 12 saves in a 3-0 loss. He is 3-5-0 with three ties, one shutout and a 2.38 GAA in his career against Nashville.
In the only other game against the Predators this season on Dec. 6, Vancouver won 5-2 as Daniel Sedin, who leads the Canucks with 26 goals, scored twice to end a 15-game goal-scoring drought against Nashville.
Predators goalie Dan Ellis has been in net for each game against the Canucks this season, posting a 2.02 GAA, including his second career shutout on Nov. 1. Ellis made 32 saves on Tuesday to win his second straight start and improve to 5-0-1 with a 2.18 GAA and one shutout since Jan. 22.
The Predators opened a three-game homestand on Tuesday, and are 7-1-1 in Nashville since Jan. 21.
The Canucks have won their last two on the road after winning just once in their previous nine games away from GM Place. They have not won three straight on the road since Oct. 26-Nov. 8.