Henrik, Daniel Sedin help Canucks control Preds to rebound from loss
VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Canucks forwards Daniel and Henrik Sedin always seem to know where the other is on the ice. Nashville's defenders couldn't say the same.
The Sedin brothers each had a goal and two assists in the final 24 minutes on Tuesday night, breaking open a close game and leading the Vancouver Canucks to a 4-1 victory over the Nashville Predators.
"The last couple of weeks we've felt good, we're moving the puck well and we know where each other are so it's fun," Henrik said after feeding his twin brother for a power-play goal that made it 2-0 with 3:37 left in the second period.
Henrik and Daniel combined to set up defenseman Sami Salo's goal seven minutes into the third period, and Henrik then jammed in Daniel's pass from behind the net to make it 4-0 less than three minutes later.
"Those two have some of the best chemistry in the league for a reason," said Nashville goalie Dan Ellis, who finished with 32 saves. "They share the same bloodlines, the same everything. They know exactly where each other are and we did give them a little bit of time and space, especially low. We didn't collapse enough on them and they were able to capitalize."
Steve Bernier opened the scoring 6:39 into the second period, and Roberto Luongo made 20 saves for the Canucks, who improved to 5-2-0 on a season-long eight-game homestand and moved into playoff position in the Western Conference.
"We had every guy step up tonight and that's what we need," said Henrik, who moved into a tie for second in NHL scoring with 47 points. "We played great defensively, didn't give up a whole lot, created scoring chances from every line -- it was the most complete game we've played for a long time."
Patric Hornqvist spoiled Luongo's bid for his 50th career shutout with 5:24 left with a high backhand after being allowed to skate in alone on a 2-0 rush. But it wasn't nearly enough as the Predators had their four-game win streak snapped with their first loss in regulation in eight games (6-1-1).
"There were too many areas where they had a higher compete level," coach Barry Trotz said. "More urgency. Harder on the puck. More determined."
Nashville came into the game averaging more than four goals a game in December after scoring 23 during the win streak, and looking to move into a tie with Chicago atop the Central Division. Instead the Predators spent most of the first two periods pinned in their own end by a Canucks team looking to bounce back from a 3-1 loss Sunday to St. Louis.
"They had a lot of desperation in their game," Trotz said. "And maybe we got a little bit fat here and didn't come out the way we wanted to."
Vancouver outshot Nashville 14-6 in the first period, yet couldn't solve Ellis, who was making his second straight start since replacing a struggling Pekka Rinne just five minutes into Friday's victory in Edmonton.
Ellis made a handful of great point-blank stops through the first period, but the Canucks seemed to find an extra gear after center Ryan Kesler fought bigger Nashville defenseman Shea Weber five minutes into the second period.
Bernier finally opened the scoring just over a minute later, pouncing on a loose puck in the slot, spinning quickly and firing his 10th goal under Ellis.
Vancouver was outshooting the Predators 16-8 since the fight when Daniel Sedin doubled the lead on a power play with 3:37 left in the period, taking a pass from Daniel in the slot and snapping it past Ellis' blocker.
"It's always a spark after something like that," Henrik said of the scrap.
Luongo wasn't busy, but made his best saves against Nashville's top line early, and appeared headed for his third shutout this season before a late breakdown.
"It's a little disappointing but at the end of the day we got the two points," Luongo said. "I thought we dominated pretty much the whole game."
Arnott was back after missing Saturday's win in Calgary with an upper-body injury, but Nashville lost C Jerred Smithson to an apparent hand injury after two shifts. ... Canucks D Alexander Edler returned from an upper-body injury suffered on a big hit from Weber in Nashville on Dec. 8. ... Canucks C Pavol Demitra returned from his native Slovakia, where he was seeing a specialist, but is still expected to miss another 3-4 weeks with a shoulder injury that required a second surgery in mid-October. ... Vancouver D Mathieu Schneider has left the team to attend to a personal matter.
Regular Season Series
Series tied 1-1
- Dennis LaRue
- Mark Wheler
- Vaughan Rody