Preds Edged in Chippy Battle vs. Canucks
The Vancouver Canucks capitalized on 13:24 of power-play time, scoring the game-winning goal on a four-on-three power-play early in the third period, to beat the Predators 3-1 at Sommet Center on Tuesday night. The two teams combined for 70 minutes of penalties in a physical contest that featured three altercations after hard hits along the boards, one in the first period and two in the second period.
The result negated a strong effort by Dan Ellis in net, making 25 saves including several acrobatic stops to keep the score tied when Vancouver was awarded a seven minute power-play through the heart of the second period.
Pavol Demitra scored the first goal after the Predators failed to cleanly clear the puck on two occasions, finally carried the puck out of the zone, but took an unforced icing just a stride before the redline. With the Predators unable to make a line change and face-off brought back into the Nashville end, Vancouver capitalized against the tired Nashville line and Demitra converted a two-on-one down low.
The Predators answered back with a five-on-three power-play goal from Radek Bonk. Weber created the play at the top of the umbrella, sliding from the center point to his left to create a passing lane to Dumont on the right wing. Dumont quickly shuttled a pass cross ice to Martin Erat on the left wing. Erat snapped the puck to Bonk at the top of the crease. Bonk jammed the puck home for his second goal of the season, evening the score 1-1.
Alex Edler cashed in on a rare four-on-three power-play 24-seconds into the third period to give the Canucks a 2-1 lead.
The Arnott-Dumont-Joel Ward line had three dangerous scoring flurries later in the period, but were unable to convert. With 9:45 left in regulation Ryan Suter unleashed a slapshot from the right wing which forced Curtis Sanford to make a split save with his left pad. Dumont poked the rebound through the goal mouth to Arnott at the far post, but the puck bounced over Arnott’s stick. Two minutes later, Ward stole the puck behind the Vancouver net on a forecheck and chipped the puck to Dumont at the near side post, but Sanford was able to close the five-hole to deny Dumont’s quick attempt. On the line’s next shift, Dumont just missed the far post through a screen and on the carryover, Arnott drew a power-play cutting hard down the center slot.
Burrows, who drew the seven minute power-play for Vancouver with a high hard check on J.P. Dumont 5:19 into the second period, scored an empty net goal with 43.9 seconds remaining to seal the game.
Scott Nichol left the game late in the first period after a high check along the boards by Rob Davison. Kevin Klein
stood up for his injured teammate and was whistled for an extra roughing penalty ... Early in the second period, Jason Arnott was called for 17 minutes of penalties after he came to the aid of J.P. Dumont, who had been injured by a high check from Alex Burrows.
Head Coach Barry Trotz
On the penalties by the Predators…
“I think our players were responding to what we thought were cheap hits. I suspect the league is going to have to protect the players and that’s why they’re angered. There was the Kesler penalty on Weber – that is the kind of thing the league needs to talk about. Weber had his back to Kesler on what was almost an icing call and Kesler has his hand on the back of Weber’s head trying to push him into the glass. Those have to be out of the game. Leaving your feet and that type of thing, we want to get them out of the league. There were some things that we really borderline and I am sure the league is looking at them right now. I expect the league to protect the players; not only our players but the players around the league.”
On the Dumont hit…
“If you look at it from my standpoint I thought he left his feet. Hands or forearms to the head are the things we are trying to get out of the game. I don’t mind running guys over with a shoulder check, that stuff is fine. We are talking about people’s lives and head injuries are the main subject in the National Hockey League right now. We thought there was a lot of that tonight.”
On Arnott sticking up for Dumont…
“He thought one of his teammates was hit in a dirty fashion and we’re going to stick up for each other. I don’t mind guys sticking together. It was a good response by Arnott. I couldn’t believe we ended up with a seven-minute penalty, but I don’t have any issues with Arnott sticking up for Dumont at all.”
On the seven-minute penalty kill…
“I looked down the bench and I said everybody is killing it. I think we used everybody on our bench. It was really that simple.”
On the officiating of the game…
“The league will handle that. I’m not going to comment on that. We’re always on our side and trying to defend our players. From my standpoint the league will handle it. I thought a lot of stuff was at the head. There are two things that are unwritten: you don’t go after the head and you don’t go after the knees. I think in hockey code they crossed the line a few times.”
On the team's play at even-strength…
“I thought we did some good things. We didn’t get enough traffic. It’s pretty taxing when we killed as many penalties as we did and it’s hard to keep the energy high. I thought our guys had a lot of battle and I thought they stayed with it right up until the end. There were a lot of positives.”
Goaltender Dan Ellis
On getting back in the starting lineup…
“It was nice to get back in there. We didn’t get the results we wanted, but you try to help the team when you do get in there. We just didn’t get it done tonight. When you get a few days off, you get an opportunity to rest your body and mind a little bit.”
On the frustrating second period…
“We were shorthanded almost the whole time, and we weren’t able to generate any offense at all. When you’re killing penalties you’re just draining the bodies of those killers constantly – you can’t get any offensive momentum going your way. We got some momentum in the fact that we killed those penalties, but even toward the end of the period – after the seven-minute kill – we went and took another penalty and kind of shot ourselves for the start of the third period and that’s where they got the game winner.”
On being shorthanded almost the whole game…
“It felt like we were shorthanded the whole second period and quite a bit in the first. We can’t be doing that – that’s been our Achilles heel this season and we’ve been getting beat on the power play of other teams and that’s why we’re losing games.”
Defenseman Shea Weber
On being shorthanded often…
“I think there were some situations where we had to stick up for each other and on the other hand we’re still taking hooking and tripping penalties that we can’t afford to take. There were some good positives but also some negatives.”
On walking a fine line penalty-wise…
“We want to win just as much as we want to make a play out there. We need the two points first but we’ll take the positives into Columbus and go from there.”
On getting frustrated from not making plays in two straight third periods…
“I think we’ve got enough veteran guys in here that the leadership will kick in and the guys will move past it and know what’s got to be done.”
Forward Joel Ward
On losing his stick during the penalty kill…
“It’s a difficult decision. You’re not sure whether to come off or try to play. My instincts told me to try to stay in my area and hopefully if I can block a shot or two that’d be great. We were fortunate to kill that penalty off and hoped to gain a little momentum at the time, but it kind of took the wind out of our sails a little bit.”
On being shorthanded most of the game…
“We lost a few key players – Tootoo wasn’t in the lineup and that’s a big loss as well as Scotty Nichol missing a bit of the game. Obviously missing a few guys is hurtful for sure. Those guys are a pretty big part of our team. We can’t let it bother us and you just have to keep moving forward and believe in one another.”
|Three star selections