VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP)Matt Duchene scored the only goal of the shootout and the Nashville Predators completed a 4-3 comeback win over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night.
Jordan Gross got his first two NHL goals, Nino Neiderreiter had a goal and an assist, and Mattias Ekholm added two assists for the Predators, who scored twice in the third period to tie it. Juuse Saros stopped 43 shots.
”As soon as we scored that first goal, I felt like we had a mental advantage on them,” Ekholm said. ”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.”
Duchene, the Predators’ second shooter, found space between Flames goalie Thatcher Demko and the post and put away the only goal of the tiebreaker. Bo Horvat then overskated the puck and didn’t get a shot off on the Canucks’ last attempt.
J.T. Miller had a goal and an assist for Vancouver, and Ilya Mikheyev and Andrei Kuzmenko also scored. Quinn Hughes had two assists. Demko finished with 27 saves.
The Canucks dominated play in the first two periods, scoring three times in the first and taking a 3-1 lead into the third. They gave up a multi-goal lead for the fifth time while getting outscored 22-13 in third.
”We sat back instead of went after them and then the next thing you know, they’ve got two goals,” Vancouver coach Bruce Boudreau said. ”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.”
Both teams had chances in overtime, with Nashville outshooting Vancouver 3-2.
With the score tied 3-3, the Canucks nearly pulled ahead midway through the third when Miller streaked in on a breakaway with two Predators players 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,” Miller said. ”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 jumped ahead with three goals in the first period.
Mikheyev ripped a shot from the faceoff circle 1:56 in, sailing the puck over Saros’ glove for his third goal of the season. Miller made it 2-0 as he got the rebound of a shot by Nils Hoglander and popped it through Saros’ pads at 3:41. The Canucks were on a power late in the period when Miller sent a sharp-angle shot flying toward the net and Kuzmenko redirected it in for his fifth with 2:28 left.
”We knew that just because the first period was in our favor pretty much the whole time, that the game wasn’t over,” Miller said. ”There was a couple of mistakes made. … We played a good 40 minutes, set ourselves up. And obviously, at this point in time we’re tired of getting teams coming back on us.”
Gross got Nashville on the board with a power-play goal 3 minutes into the second as he tipped Niederreiter’s shot from the low slot past Demko for his first career goal.
The rookie, playing in his second NHL game, then pulled the Predators within one as he got a pass from Zach Sanford and fired a quick shot over Demko’s shoulder 1:06 into the third.
Niederreiter tied it just 1:35 later, getting his own rebound and poking it through Demko’s pads.
Miller extended his point streak to six games. He has five goals and four assists in that stretch. … Horvat registered his 200th NHL assist.
Predators: At Seattle on Tuesday night in the fourth of a five-game trip.
Canucks: At Ottawa on Tuesday night to open a five-game trip.
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