Pekka Rinne’s incredible 11-game winning streak came to an end on Tuesday night when the Nashville Predators lost to the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 in a shootout in front of 16, 232 fans at Bridgestone Arena.
The Predators fell behind in the middle of the first period when Ryan Kesler opened scoring 11:42 into the game with a power play goal. Brandon Yip was in the penalty box for slashing.
Nashville tied the game just over two minutes later when Colin Wilson beat Roberto Luongo, glove side. David Legwand and Patric Hornqvist picked up the assists. Legwand is now just one assist shy of 300 career helpers.
The Predators dug themselves a hole in the last two minutes of play in the opening frame. Byron Bitz and Daniel Sedin both scored 23 seconds apart at 18:21 and 18:44 of the first period to give the Canucks a 3-1 lead heading into the second period.
Predators forward, Mike Fisher, says the team is getting used to clawing their way back into games. “When we get down, we know how good Pekka can be. He can shut the door, and we just seem to be able to relax and play; we try to chip away and we never give up. It would have been nice to get that one but that’s a good hockey team.”
In the second period, Nashville scored twice to come back from a two-goal deficit to tie the game. Sergei Kostitsyn and Fisher scored 4:14 and 5:16 into the middle frame respectively.
With his goal, Fisher has 17 points in his last 16 games, including 9 goals and 8 assists, and leads the team in goals with 16 tallies on the season. Fisher credits his linemates with his success. “Marty [Erat] and Sergei have been playing real well and creating a lot of opportunities. It has been fun. Hopefully we can keep this going and keep winning.”
Kostitsyn has 15 points in his last 16 games, including 9 goals and 6 assists. Those 9 goals were scored on only 21 shots on goal. Kostitsyn leads the NHL in shooting percentage at 25.4 percent.
When asked about his line’s offensive production, Kostitsyn suggested that statistics do not matter, winning does. “I think every night some line steps up. It doesn’t matter who scores. All that matters is we win. That’s it,” Kostitsyn said.
The offense has been clicking for Nashville’s top line, but Fisher credits Rinne with keeping the Predators in close games. “He’s been outstanding. He’s unbelievable, and he was tonight. We get down and he always seems to shut the door at the right time, and he always gives us a chance to win and he did that tonight,” Fisher said.
After 40 minutes, with the game all tied up at 3-3, the third period was a goaltending show between two of last year’s Vezina trophy finalists, Rinne and Luongo, as was the overtime period.
The Predators peppered Luongo with 40 shots on goal, but were only able to beat the Canadian Olympian three times. It was not enough for the win as Luongo won in the shootout.
Alexander Edler scored the winning shootout tally.
The Nashville Predators next play Thursday night when Mike Fisher makes his return to Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, to take on the struggling Senators who have lost seven straight contests.
Photo credit: AP