Preds Show No Mercy, Blast Canucks 7-1

P.K. Subban scored twice and the Nashville Predators blasted the Vancouver Canucks by a 7-1 final on Wednesday night at Rogers Arena. The victory gives the Preds points in five consecutive games and 14 wins in their last 18 tries.

It was the perfect start to a three-game Western Canadian swing, as Nashville started strong and finished even stronger to complete one of their best efforts of the season, something that was built over the past three days with some time away from game action.

“They say you play how you practice,” Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “I thought our guys practiced hard for two days, they came here and just continued on. Even the skate this morning was sharp. I thought the guys were ready to play. The last time we played Vancouver, I didn’t think the execution was great and we lost some of the energy. Tonight, it was great to have energy and execution from start to finish.”

It took Subban less than two minutes to get his first of the night to go, a floating shot that eluded goaltender Anders Nilsson for a 1-0 advantage. Viktor Arvidsson gave the Preds a two-goal lead when he finished off a shorthanded, 2-on-0 break by depositing Ryan Johansen’s feed into the cage. It appeared the Canucks had cut the lead in half in the last minute of the opening frame, but Nashville successfully challenged the play for offside to keep Vancouver off the board.

As the second stanza opened, it was Subban again, this time converting on a blast from center ice that fooled Nilsson, and right after the Canucks got on the board, Filip Forsberg’s pass deflected off of a Vancouver defender and over the line for a power-play tally and a 4-1 Nashville lead after 40 minutes.

A team that has had their share of third-period mishaps this season, including against these same Canucks on Nov. 30 in Nashville, the Predators weren’t about to let their opponent back into the contest.

Nashville tallied three more times in the final frame, with Craig Smith, Kevin Fiala and Calle Jarnkrok all finding the twine.

“I thought we did a really good job of getting pucks deep and wanting to attack the game,” Subban said. “I felt the last time we played against them, we sat back too much and took our foot off the pedal. We’re the type of team that when we attack we’re really tough to defend against. We saw some of the skill as the game went on. We have some really skilled players on this team that can make plays and we saw that.”

The return of Johansen and Scott Hartnell from injury enabled the Preds to roll four lines throughout the night, exactly what they were hoping for with the forward reinforcements.

“It gave really good balance,” Laviolette said. “We kept the Turris line intact, and I told you that I liked the Aberg-Jarnkrok-Forsberg line after last game, I just thought they played really well… It was just a solid night. Especially in a back-to-back situation, you like a game like that where you can roll the bench a little bit and try to control the minutes. Sometimes they get a little out of hand and you have to go play the next night. It sets up where the guys were in control of the minutes tonight.”

Member’s Bounce(s):

The first one was odd – a shot that P.K. Subban didn’t get nearly enough of, but nevertheless, it floated through the atmosphere and over the shoulder of the goaltender. Those happen from time to time.

But a slap shot from center ice? The oddsmakers wouldn’t take that bet nearly as often.

It didn’t matter on Wednesday night in Vancouver, however, as Subban blasted one from just in front of the red line, a shot that goaltender Anders Nilsson simply failed to corral with the glove. The tally gave the Nashville blueliner his first multi-goal outing of the season and the fifth of his career.

“The first one, I kind of saw what happened,” Subban said. “I just tried to put it back toward the net and their player had kind of – as soon as the puck went – he just skated right by, so I think that’s why the goalie didn’t see it. And then on the second one, I just tried to shoot as hard as I could on net and sometimes when you do that, the pucks are just tough to handle. It was a fortunate bounce. I can think of a couple times this year on more of an honest play were the puck should have gone in and it didn’t, so I’ll take it.”

“They say, ‘put the puck at the net,'” Laviolette grinned. “I don’t know who says it, but they say, ‘put the puck at the net.’ The first one was kind of funny, it just got lost for a second and floated up and the second one was tough. I think it got directed and hit [the goaltender’s] glove funny. It’s one of those things. I think that’s why everyone says it: ‘just keep shooting.'”

Shorthanded Stunner:

The Predators were just trying to kill off a penalty, but all of a sudden, Ryan Johansen found himself with the puck and Viktor Arvidsson to his left – a 2-on-0 break while shorthanded.

Say what, now?

Johansen, who returned to the lineup after missing three games with an upper-body injury, was so surprised at the situation that he almost didn’t get a handle on the puck in time. But players with his skill usually find a way, and the Vancouver native found Arvidsson just in time for the Swede to slam the biscuit home for his sixth shorthanded tally in the past two seasons, tops in the League.

“No, I did not expect to be on a 2-on-0,” Johansen laughed. “But the way Arvi skates, I guess I should expect it.”


Ryan Johansen and fellow forward Scott Hartnell both returned to the lineup on Wednesday night after being activated from Injured Reserve.

Nashville has scored at least four goals in 13 of their 30 games this season and have recorded at least three goals in 17 of their last 18 outings.

The Predators will now travel to Edmonton for a date with the Oilers on Thursday night (at 8 p.m. CT) before finishing their Western Canada swing on Saturday night in Calgary.

Pete Weber’s Postgame Report