VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Roman Josi and Philip Tomasino scored power-play goals and the Nashville Predators beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 on Friday night.
Matt Duchene also scored and Mikael Granlund had two assists. Juuse Saros stopped 26 shots to pick up his fifth win of the season.
“It’s nice to see Juuse, just the consistency that he’s playing with, the confidence that he’s playing with,” Predators coach John Hynes said. “He makes big saves at big times and that’s what elite goaltenders do. You can’t win without goaltending and you can’t win without great goaltending, and I think we’ve had that for pretty much all year.”
Brock Boeser and Nils Hoglander scored for Vancouver, and Thatcher Demko had 25 saves. The Canucks were 0 for 5 on their power-play chances.
“They weren’t very good. It’s pretty simple,” Vancouver coach Travis Green said of his special teams. “PK has to be better, the power play has to be better and our game’s going to be fine. We’ve got a couple players that probably need to play a little better. Five on five, we’ve done a lot of good things but special teams have to be better.”
The Canucks had a prime opportunity to tie it midway through the third after the Predators’ Alex Carrier was called for interference. However, the lone shot during the penalty belonged to Nashville, which saw a short-handed breakaway chance from Colton Sissons stopped by Demko.
“It just comes down to effort,” Boeser said. “I think it comes down to shooting the puck, putting in the effort to get the puck back, opening up another shot, shoot it again, crash the net. We’ve just got to keep it simple, can’t keep looking for the perfect play. We’ve just got to find a way. There’s no excuses.”
The Predators took a 3-2 lead with 45 seconds remaining in the second. Mattias Ekholm sliced a pass across the crease to Tomasino, and the center sent a wrist shot flying bar down and in.
“I thought it was a hard fought game,” Hynes said. “There were stretches in the game where they played really well and took it to us. I thought we did the same. Probably when you break it down, special teams obviously were a big difference in the game.”
With the score tied 1-1 after 20 minutes, the Canucks gained some momentum midway through the second with multiple chances for a go-ahead goal.
Hoglander finally gave Vancouver only lead of the night 10:08 into the period with some patient play. The Swedish winger received a pass from Bo Horvat in the slot and patiently out waited Saros before tucking a shot in behind the goalie’s skate for his first of the season.
“I just get the puck in the slot and try to do a move and I scored on it,” Hoglander said.
Granlund set up the tying goal less than 2 1/2 minutes later, springing Duchene for a solo opportunity deep in Vancouver territory. Duchene faked a shot, then popped a backhander in over a sprawling Demko to make it 2-2.
The Predators opened the scoring with an early power-play marker after Hoglander was called for tripping Josi just over 5 minutes into the game. Josi capitalized 24 seconds into the penalty, ripping a slap shot directly into the Vancouver net from near the blue line.
Boeser tied it with 8.6 seconds remaining in the first period as he drew Saros to the top of his crease, then seamlessly pulled the puck to his backhand before tapping a shot into the empty net for his third.
Canucks forward J.T. Miller has 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in 11 games this season. … Vancouver has allowed the first goal six games in a row.
The Canucks celebrated Diwali, marking the occasion with colorful warm-up jerseys and performances by South Asian artists during intermissions.