Vancouver Canucks beat Predators 4-2 in Game 1 of playoff series

Vancouver Canucks beat Predators 4-2 in Game 1 of playoff series

The Vancouver Canucks mounted a third-period comeback to take Game 1 of their best-of-seven series against the Nashville Predators 4-2, thanks to two goals from forward Dakota Joshua.

Nine years since the Canucks last hosted a Stanley Cup playoffs game, the Predators entered a deafening Rogers Arena on Sunday night.

“The building was crazy. You think you know what to expect until you get out there and you don’t,” said Joshua of the game atmosphere.

Starting goaltender Thatcher Demko was a steadying presence to begin the game, but after the team failed to capitalize on an early power play, the Predators dug in and Jason Zucker gave Nashville the first goal of the series more than 15 minutes into the period.

Hockey players celebrate.
Nashville Predators’ Luke Evangelista, left, and Ryan O’Reilly celebrate O’Reilly’s goal against the Vancouver Canucks during the second period on Sunday. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

After a paltry four shots in the first frame, it took just 47 seconds for the Canucks to pull even in the second, as centreman Elias Lindholm entered Nashville’s zone and scored Vancouver’s first goal of the 2024 NHL playoffs.

Vancouver’s Teddy Blueger took an interference penalty halfway through the second period, and Nashville’s Ryan O’Reilly capitalized by wristing a shot over top of Demko’s glove hand to retake the lead 2-1.

The tally was O’Reilly’s 26th career playoff goal. Nashville went 1-for-4 on the power play Sunday while Vancouver was 0-for-3.

The two teams traded chances in the third period before Pius Suter tipped in Canucks captain Quinn Hughes’s shot from the point to level up the game.

And before the playmakers behind that goal were even announced in the arena, Joshua gave the Canucks their first lead of the playoffs with a goal in tight against goaltender Juuse Saros just 12 seconds later.

Two hockey players spar.
Vancouver’s Filip Hronek (17) shoots the puck down the ice away from Nashville Predators’ Filip Forsberg (9) during the second period on Sunday. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

“I think we just stayed patient the entire game and didn’t really push too hard or give anything up when we were down going to the third,” said Hughes, who finished with two assists. 

Nashville pulled Saros several minutes later for the extra attacker, but with under two minutes to play, Joshua stretched a shot from the Canucks’ end to find the empty net for his second goal of the period.

Joshua said the first home playoff win in nearly a decade means a lot the team and its fans.

“Obviously, you can tell the building was rocking all night,” he said. “It was nice that we could get the first win out of the way and you know we’re gonna need them on this ride, and it means a lot to us to know that they have our back through it all.”

A hockey team celebrates.
Vancouver’s Elias Lindholm (23) celebrates his goal against the Nashville Predators during the second period on Sunday. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Sunday’s game proved to be a physical affair, with the Canucks registering 39 hits and the Predators putting up 32. Nashville winger Cole Smith led the way with six.

Head coach Rick Tocchet said it’s a balance being physical while avoiding penalties, but Vancouver kept Nashville to just one goal on four power plays. 

“I think killing those three penalties was big,” said Tocchet. “They score there, it’s a two goal lead so I think that was big. A key moment, the penalty killing.”  

Game 2 returns to Rogers Arena on Tuesday at 7 p.m. PT.

Jets fly over Avalanche

Elsewhere, captain Adam Lowry and Kyle Connor each scored twice to propel the Winnipeg Jets to a 7-6 Game 1 first-round playoff victory over the Colorado Avalanche.

The two teams met for the first time in the NHL playoffs in front of a sold-out crowd of 15,225 at the Canada Life Centre.

Mark Scheifele had a goal and two assists and Josh Morrissey registered a goal and assist. Vladislav Namestnikov also scored. Brenden Dillon, Gabriel Vilardi and Nino Niederreiter each added a pair of assists and Connor picked up one helper. Connor Hellebuyck made 39 saves for the Jets, who are on a nine-game win streak.

Panthers take opener against Lightning

Carter Verhaeghe tapped in a pinpoint pass from Aleksander Barkov for the lead 58 seconds into the third period, Matthew Tkachuk added a goal and an assist, and the Florida Panthers beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 in Game 1 of their first-round NHL playoff series.

Barkov had two assists, Sam Reinhart also scored and Sergei Bobrovsky had 17 saves for the Panthers, who won a Game 1 on home ice for the first time since 1997. Brandon Hagel and Steven Stamkos got the goals for Tampa Bay, which now trails Florida in a series for the first time.

Andrei Vasilevskiy made 25 stops for the Lightning, who pulled him for an extra attacker with 3:08 remaining.

Rangers defeat Capitals

Jimmy Vesey had a goal and an assist, Artemi Panarin also scored, and New York beat Washington 4-1 in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.

Matt Rempe and Chris Kreider also scored, Barclay Goodrow had two assists and Igor Shesterkin finished with 20 saves to help the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Rangers get the post-season off to strong start.

The Rangers, seeking their first Stanley Cup championship in 30 years, won their third straight and 11th in the last 14 games. New York’s Peter Laviolette became the first coach in NHL history to take six different teams to the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Martin Fehervary scored and Charlie Lindgren stopped 27 shots for the Capitals, who had won three straight and four of their last five games to earn the second wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

Wes Anderson’s New Movie Is Way More Exciting Thanks To This 14-Year-Old Comedy With 83% On RT Previous post Wes Anderson’s New Movie Is Way More Exciting Thanks To This 14-Year-Old Comedy With 83% On RT
Sony Says Stellar Blade Art Referencing Racist Language Was Unintentional, Will be Patched Out Next post Sony Says Stellar Blade Art Referencing Racist Language Was Unintentional, Will be Patched Out