Predators complete comeback with 4-3 shootout win over Vancouver Canucks

Nashville Predators' Matt Duchene (95) has his shot blocked by Vancouver Canucks' Ethan Bear (74) in front of goalie Thatcher Demko (35) during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Saturday, November 5, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck. DD

Another third-period meltdown cost the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.

Up 3-1 heading into the final frame, the team had to settle for a single point in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Nashville Predators.

“We sat back instead of went after them and then the next thing you know, they’ve got two goals,” said Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau.

“I think that sometimes it’s like you’re afraid to win. And we righted the ship after that, and they didn’t have a lot but it was too little too late.”

The Canucks (3-6-3) have given up multi-goal leads five times this season and been outscored 22-13 in third periods.

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The record isn’t lost on Vancouver’s opponents.

“As soon as we scored that first goal, I felt like we had a mental advantage on them,” said Nashville defenceman Mattias Ekholm, who had a pair of assists in the win.

“They seemed to be on their heels a little bit. They were just flipping pucks out and we kept coming at them and got another goal and after that, I thought we pressured for a fourth and it didn’t come until this shootout.”

Matt Duchene sealed the win, finding space between Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko and his post to put away the lone strike in the shootout.

All three of Vancouver’s goals came in the first period, with J.T. Miller putting up a goal and a helper, Ilya Mikheyev and Andrei Kuzmenko each finding the back of the net and Quinn Hughes contributing a pair of assists.

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Nashville goalie Juuse Saros stopped 43-of-46 shots across regulation play and overtime. Demko made 27 saves for the Canucks.

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Vancouver nearly pulled ahead again midway through the final frame when Miller streaked in on a breakaway with two Predators chasing and blasted a shot on net. Saros plucked the puck out of the air to keep the game tied.

“(Saros) had my number, that’s for sure,” said Miller. “I could have broke the game early multiple times and opened it multiple times. And I didn’t so I’ve got to find a way to bear down on my chances.”

Vancouver was 1-for-4 with the man advantage Saturday and Nashville went 1-for-5.

Kuzmenko gave the Canucks a 3-0 cushion with a power-play goal 17:32 into the game after Cole Smith was sent to the box for high-sticking.

Vancouver jumped out to a 2-0 lead just 3:41 into the first when Miller collected a Nils Hoglander rebound and popped it through Saros’ pads.

Coming off a high-flying 8-5 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday, the Canucks were quick on the board Saturday night.

Mikheyev ripped a shot from the faceoff circle 1:56 into the game, sailing a puck over Saros’ glove for his third goal of the season.

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“We knew that just because the first period was in our favour pretty much the whole time that the game wasn’t over. There was a couple of mistakes made and it sucks to come out (with a loss). We played a good 40 minutes, set ourselves up,” said Miller.

“And obviously, at this point in time we’re tired of getting teams coming back on us. But it’s not all bad and I think we’re a lot closer than people think.”


The Canucks launch a five-game eastern swing against the Senators in Ottawa on Tuesday. The Predators take on the Kraken in Seattle the same night.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 5, 2022.

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