|VAN||0||1||1||(0 - 0)||2|
|NSH||1||1||2||(0 - 0)||4|
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -The Vancouver Canucks had not lost a game in Nashville in more than three years. Martin Erat took care of that.
Erat had his second career NHL hat trick and added an assist to lead the Nashville Predators to a 4-2 victory over the Canucks on Tuesday night.
The Predators beat the Canucks at home for the first time since Nov. 23, 2006. After winning the first two games of a four-game trip, the Canucks lost at Carolina and Nashville.
Patric Hornqvist had the other goal for the Predators. Ryan Kesler and Daniel Sedin scored for Vancouver.
Erat gave Nashville a 1-0 lead at 4:19 of the first period. He corralled a loose puck below the goal line and banked a shot in, first off the goal post and then off the left skate of goalie Roberto Luongo.
Erat struck again at 3:03 of the second period. With the Predators on the power play, Francis Bouillon sent Erat into the Vancouver zone with a tape-to-tape pass from the red line. Erat skated toward Luongo and beat him between the pads with a forehand to backhand move.
"We made a few mistakes, but you can only go to the well so many times before it bites you," Luongo said. "Taking penalties every game, you get away with it sometimes, but it's going to hurt you once in a while."
After scoring just one goal in his first 17 games, Erat has eight in his last 10. His only other three-goal game was March 4, 2008, at Edmonton.
"They didn't bounce for me at the beginning of the season, and I just tried to get myself together," Erat said. "I'm happy they are just going in right now."
Steve Sullivan assisted on Erat's first two goals.
Vancouver cut the lead to 2-1 at 12:12 of the second with a power-play goal.
With the Canucks on a 5-on-3 advantage, Henrik Sedin found Ryan Kesler alone in front of goalie Pekka Rinne where Kesler had an easy tap-in for his sixth goal.
Kesler's goal snapped a stretch of four games in which Vancouver went without a power-play goal.
"Right now, we have guys that can play a lot better, that have to play a lot better," Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. "We need to start watching the standings here a little bit more and the importance of these games right now that we're finding ways to lose."
Rinne finished the night with 34 saves, recording his 12th win of the season.
"Vancouver played a really gritty, in your face game, but we managed the game really well," Rinne said. "It was a huge two points for us."
Hornqvist recorded Nashville's second power-play goal of the game at 11:27 of the third period when he completed a tic-tac-toe passing play off feeds from Erat and Predators captain Jason Arnott.
"The Hornqvist goal was a really well executed play," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "The power play had some more looks today. They entered better, and then they executed better."
Daniel Sedin scored at 16:25 of the third to cut the Predators' lead to 3-2, but Erat sealed Nashville's win with an empty-netter.
"I was just trying to make it to the red line, so I didn't get icing, and I shot it on the net," Erat said of the empty-net goal. "I'm just happy it went in."
NOTES: The Predators are 13-1 when scoring a power-play goal this season. ... Eight of Erat's nine goals this season have been scored at home. Vancouver D Alexander Edler left the game midway through the first period after being hit by Nashville D Shea Weber. ... Daniel and Henrik Sedin both have points in four consecutive games.
Head Coach Barry Trotz
On Martin Erat’s first goal…
When you put pucks on the net and pressure in the crease, good things can happen. Sometimes it goes off the goalie, sometimes it goes off a defenseman. It’s almost like putting a ball in a bingo machine – if it bounces to the right place, you can put it in the net.
On moving Martin Erat to the top line…
I was looking for a little bit of a change. We’ve got our three oldest players on that line and we’ve got a lot of games, so I was looking for a little change. Sometimes you get a little bit stale when you stay together as a line. Once in a while, the odd change will work.
On Alexander Sulzer’s first game with Nashville since being recalled…
He was good. I thought he was really solid. I don’t have any issues with Sulzer’s play.
On Jerred Smithson’s game misconduct…
I have the luxury of looking at it on film. The two things that the referees said to me were that obviously they’re cracking down on hits to the head, which I’m 100 percent behind, and they thought it was a little bit of a late hit. I have the luxury of film – it wasn’t a late hit. Burrows had the puck on his stick and he tried to duck the hit. Smithson’s arms were right by his side; it was his shoulder. Burrows spun off and tried to avoid it. The referees said that they’ll look at it, and if they’re wrong they’ll apologize. They’ve got a tough job. I thought we did a pretty good job, for the most part, of killing off that five-on-three.
On penalty killing without Jerred Smithson…
We were a little bit behind the eight-ball. It was a scramble. He’s a really great penalty killer, and he’s a right-handed draw for those crucial situations. He’s such a good checker, and we missed that element.
Defenseman Shea Weber
On starting the game stronger defensively…
I thought we did a better job. We still game up a few too many shots, but thanks to Pekka for helping us out. We did a better job and hopefully we continue to do that.
On winning as many home games as possible…
It’s huge for us right now. If you take a look at the standings, there are only four to six points separating fifth place from tenth place. It’s crazy. It’s so tight, but that is why it is so important.
Goaltender Pekka Rinne
On playing with more confidence…
Tonight was a good game by everybody, not just from me. The guys played a great game – even though Vancouver came hard. I felt they played a very gritty game and their style of game, but we managed the game really well and it was a huge two points for us.
On learning from their mistakes against the Minnesota Wild last Saturday…
Well, yesterday we spent quite a bit of time watching video and talking about those things down low and that gave our defense come courage. Tonight our game was tighter and the guys did a great job.
Forward Martin Erat
On learning from their mistakes against the Minnesota Wild last Saturday…
We didn’t start badly against Minnesota; we just didn’t play 60 minutes. I think that we needed a much better effort and today we played 60 minutes and played much better.
On facing heavy opponents on Thursday and Saturday…
Like coach says, the points are counting every game, and it doesn’t matter whether it is September, October or March. We just have to get those points so that we have a better chance of making it in the end.
|Martin Erat (7) Wrist shot - ASST: Jason Arnott (8), Steve Sullivan (11)|
1 - 0 NSH
|PPG - Martin Erat (8) Backhand shot - ASST: Francis Bouillon (4), Steve Sullivan (12)|
2 - 0 NSH
|PPG - Ryan Kesler (6) Tip-in - ASST: Henrik Sedin (21), Daniel Sedin (10)|
2 - 1 NSH
|PPG - Patric Hornqvist (6) Tip-in - ASST: Jason Arnott (9), Martin Erat (8)|
3 - 1 NSH
|Daniel Sedin (3) Wrist shot - ASST: Henrik Sedin (22)|
3 - 2 NSH
|EN - Martin Erat (9) Slapshot - ASST: David Legwand (11)|
4 - 2 NSH
|Mason Raymond Roughing against Ryan Jones|
|Ryan Jones Roughing against Mason Raymond|
|Willie Mitchell Tripping against Jason Arnott|
|Jerred Smithson Charging (maj) against Alexandre Burrows|
|Jerred Smithson Game misconduct|
|Christian Ehrhoff Hooking against Martin Erat|
|Patric Hornqvist Holding the stick against Sami Salo|
|Jannik Hansen Hooking against Ryan Jones|
|Henrik Sedin Cross checking against David Legwand|
|Mikael Samuelsson Hooking against Joel Ward|
|Dan Hamhuis Tripping against Alexandre Burrows|
|Alexandre Burrows Hi-sticking against Francis Bouillon|
|SA: 25||TOI: 59:51|
|Saves: 22||EV: 16 - 17|
|PIM: 0||PP: 5 - 7|
|SV%: .880||SH: 1 - 1|
|SA: 36||TOI: 59:44|
|Saves: 34||EV: 23 - 24|
|PIM: 0||PP: 7 - 8|
|SV%: .944||SH: 4 - 4|