VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP)—Richard Park ended two slumps with one goal.
With a delayed penalty coming against Nashville, Ed Jovanovski avoided a check at the blue line and threw the puck at the net. Matt Cooke’s deflection in the slot went right to Park alone at the other side of the crease for a tap-in.
“It was good to contribute,” said Park, who hadn’t scored since Nov. 16. “It was really big for our hockey team, we’ve been on the short end of the stick the last couple of games but this will be a boost for our team.”
Alex Auld made 18 of his 32 saves in the third period for the Canucks, who snapped Nashville’s six-game winning streak and moved back into first place in the Northwest Division, a point ahead of both Calgary and Edmonton.
“It’s a good game to build on,” said Naslund, who also had an assist. “We won’t read too much into it, but at least we got a win here last game at home.”
“Any back-to-back is tough, but especially against a team like Vancouver,” said Chris Mason, who made 28 saves. “Even though they’ve been losing, they’ve been scoring a lot of goals and just coming out on the short end of the stick.”
For a while it looked as though that streak would continue. Nashville took a 2-0 lead in the first period before the Canucks came storming back.
Hordichuk opened the scoring on Nashville’s first shot 38 seconds into the game, a slap shot from the top of the faceoff circle that deflected off the outstretched stick of Canucks defenseman Sami Salo and into the top corner over Auld’s glove.
Zidlicky made it 2-0 on a power play, sneaking in from the point and redirecting a pass from the point off the post, off a sprawling Auld, and into the net.
It was the 10th power-play goal in the last five games for Nashville’s third-ranked power play, which has scored at least a goal in 20 of the last 21 games.
“It was a gut check coming in after the first and being down two,” said Todd Bertuzzi, who had two assists after being shifted from right wing to center on the top line as the Canucks shook up their forward combinations.
Both units figured prominently in the win.
Bertuzzi set up Naslund with a drop pass on a 2-on-2 rush 1:20 into the second, then Naslund set up the tying goal on a power play 6 minutes later with a cross-crease pass that Jovanovski deflected behind Mason.
Perreault restored the Nashville lead midway through the period, but Predators agitator Jordin Tootoo was whistled for diving 5 minutes later and Ohlund’s point shot through a screen tied it again just as the power play expired, setting the stage for Park’s slump-buster in the third.
“It worked for all the lines,” Park said.
With the world junior championship underway in Vancouver, the Canucks play 14 of their next 18 games on the road starting on New Year’s Eve in Minnesota. … The Predators will wrap up their five-game trip with a return to Alberta to play Edmonton on Friday night. … It was just the second loss in 16 one-goal games for the Predators. … The Canucks improved to 16-2-1 against teams outside their division but are just 5-9-4 within the Northwest.