Ryan Kesler scored twice in the third period as the Nashville Predators fell to the Vancouver Canucks 3-1 on Tuesday night.
After a scoreless first period that saw the teams combine for just 13 shots on goal, both teams ramped up the pressure in the middle frame, with Nashville posting 14 shots and Vancouver totaling 18 shots – tying the most shots against in a period this season (second period vs. Chicago on Nov. 16). The 32 combined shots in the middle 20 minutes were a season high in the period for Nashville (previously 31, Nov. 16 vs. Chicago).
Despite the high shot volume, the scoreless tie held strong until the 15:24 mark of the second, when Brad Richardson used a fortuitous bounce to give the Canucks the lead. Richardson picked up a loose puck in front of the Nashville goal and ricocheted a shot off of Marek Mazanec’s back for his sixth goal of the season.
Nashville responded just 30 seconds later as a Roman Josi shot pinballed its way onto Patric Hornqvist’s stick, before the Swede connected with Colin Wilson at the side of the net for the tying goal. The goal was Wilson’s second in as many games, while the assist was Hornqvist’s second helper since returning to the lineup last Saturday.
Nashville continued to get the short end of the stick when it came to bounces in the third, as Kesler recorded his first goal of the game when a broken play in front of the net allowed him to bounce a puck off of Ryan Ellis and past Mazanec.
Kesler would find the back of the net again a little more than seven minutes later.
With Nashville killing off its fourth penalty of the game, after Hornqvist went to the box on a goaltender interference and roughing double-minor, Kesler buried another loose puck to seal the win for Vancouver.
Two Things and Notes:
Penalty Kill Finally Succumbs: The Predators' perfect penalty kill streak finally came to an end on Tuesday night when Ryan Kesler scored on the power play late in the third. The streak lasted eight games and 25 shorthanded situations, but ultimately came up just one game shy of matching the longest streak in franchise history (nine games, Nov. 18-Dec. 4, 2010). Nashville has already had two stretches of at least seven games without allowing a power-play goal this season (seven games, Oct. 12-24; eight games, Nov. 16-30). The Preds penalty kill continues to rank among the League’s best in 2013-14 (10th, 84.6 percent).
The Rookie of the Month: Marek Mazanec continued his strong play in goal on Tuesday night for Nashville. The first-year netminder stopped 30-of-33 shots, posting a save percentage of better than .900 for a ninth consecutive game. Tuesday night was the first time Mazanec has given up more than two goals in a game in since Nov. 15 at Pittsburgh. The Pisek, Czech Republic native has now posted a 5-5-1 record with a 2.09 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage.
Nashville finished with 31 shots, the third game in a row in which the team has put more than 30 pucks on goal.
Rookie defenseman Seth Jones led Nashville in ice time with 29:40, including 4:57 shorthanded. This is his second consecutive game over 29 minutes. Jones is third in average ice time on the Preds this season (23:55), behind only Shea Weber (26:09) and Roman Josi (24:19). Jones added five blocked shots in the game.
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