NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -Jason LaBarbera made 31 saves in his first start for Vancouver, and Mattias Ohlund and Jason Jaffray scored goals in the Canucks' 2-1 victory over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night.
LaBarbera, acquired from the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, allowed only Rich Peverley's goal midway through the second period.
Vancouver has won its last five games against Nashville, three this season.
Jaffray scored the winner with 4:06 left in the third, defelcting Willie Mitchell's slap shot past goalie Pekka Rinne.
Vancouver opened the scoring when Ohlund, shooting low from off of the left boards, beat Rinne high to his glove side with a wrist shot at 7:19 of the first period.
|Weber Unsung Player of the Game|
Jordin Tootoo drew many of the headlines from tonight’s game … and for good reason. Tootoo played the super-pest role to a “T.” He opened the game by dropping the gloves with Alex Burrows as retribution for Burrows’s hit on J.P. Dumont from the last meeting between these two teams and finished the game with five hits, three takeaways, and two shots on goal in 11:55 of ice time.
The Predators tied it on Peverley's goal at 7:53 of the second period. Peverley found the net with a one-timer from a few feet out on the left side.
It was the first game between the teams since Dec. 9 when Nashville's Scott Nichol sustained a concussion and J.P. Dumont was hit in the head. Nashville coach Barry Trotz thought both hits were serious enough for sanctions by the NHL, but league officials did not agree. Nichol has missed nine straight games.
While the Predators stressed they would not be seeking revenge, Jordin Tootoo and Vancouver's Alex Burrows squared off 22 seconds into the game. The rest of the game featured some fierce hitting from both sides, with Nashville's Wade Belak and Vancouver's Darcy Hordichuk exchanging punches at 6:16 of the third period.
Notes: The last time LaBarbera faced Nashville was Oct. 25 with the Kings. He was pulled from the game after allowing three goals in the first 13 minutes. ... Dumont hasn't scored a goal in nine straight games. ... The Predators have scored only nine goals in their last seven games. ... Vancouver is 2-3-0 in its last five.
Head Coach Barry Trotz
On not scoring goals…
"They had a lot of chances and got some pucks behind them but we have got to score. We’re scoring a goal a game and it’s hard to win because there isn’t a much of a margin for error."
On how to shake things up…
"One of the things we are going to have to look at is that we have some guys in Milwaukee going really good and a lot of times you need to shake something up and win some hockey games."
On the defense…
"I thought we actually gave up too many chances. I think we were pressing a few times and gave up some odd-man chances and they have some pretty good players like the Sedins. We want to play solid. I think there is more of an emphasis of a keeping it down to zero type of thing."
On Rinne’s performance on the Vancouver goals…
"The first one I definitely think he should have had, he just didn’t square up to the puck. On the second one he might have been screened a little bit. Both were goals though. We killed off a couple of big penalties and got a guy out of the box; the puck shouldn’t have ended up in our net. That hurt and then we gave up three or four chances after that. Then, obviously, Joel Ward had a really great chance."
On Tootoo’s fight…
"Tootoo, I’d say, remembered what Mr. Burrows did last time and felt that he should take care of his teammate and I think that was taken care of internally, I guess."
Goaltender Pekka Rinne
On the frustrating loss…
"We battled hard, we played hard but these one goal games these are tough. We just have to bounce back and I think this game put us in a better direction. I think we played a pretty strong game overall. Obviously it’s tough to lose this kind of game and really big points."
On improvement since the Colorado game…
"The last road trip, we didn’t play the way we wanted to play. We came home and we were ready. I think we really dug deep and tried to play our game and play disciplined and play just hard-working. We did that but we came short and they played a pretty good game."
On the Jaffray goal…
"I lost the puck and the second guy was in front of me and it just went over my blocker and just didn’t see it."
Forward Rich Peverley
On tonight’s loss…
"We created a lot of chances tonight, we had a lot of second and third opportunities but LaBarbera played really well."
On the goal…
"Oh it was a great play and something we worked on a little bit as just a back door play. It was a great play by Bonk to know it was just going to be there and I had a wide open net."
On what they need to work on…
"We just have to keep shooting. I think the tides are going to turn. I think when you shoot and create chaos around the net you are going to create second and third opportunities and that’s how you score goals in this league."
Forward Jordin Tootoo
On tonight’s fights…
"You just have to stick up for each other and I think we did that and we played hard. We just didn’t get the bounces."
On these frustrating one and two-goal...
"No, I mean we’re just not getting the bounces right now. We’ve just got to stick to it and I think we just have to be positive mentally and just bring it every night. We’re just not getting the bounces. Some nights you are going to run into that. I just think we have to keep battling in front of the net and get the pucks."