NHL Game Summary - Nashville at Vancouver
(Wednesday, March 21st)
Final Score: Vancouver 2, Nashville 0
Vancouver, BC (Sports Network) - Roberto Luongo turned away each of the 20 shots he faced to lead to the Vancouver Canucks past the Nashville Predators, 2-0, in a key matchup of division leaders at General Motors Place.
Jan Bulis and Tommi Santala both lit the lamp for the Canucks, who have won four in a row and nine of 11. Vancouver now owns a three-point edge over Minnesota for first in the Northwest Division, and climbed within four points of the Predators for the top seed in the Western Conference.
"Our main focus is to try to win our division," Luongo said. "Then if the other teams falter, we may be able to sneak up a bit. But we just have to keep winning."
Tomas Vokoun finished with 28 saves for Nashville, which has dropped three of four. With the loss, it failed to improve its one-point lead over idle Detroit for first place in the Central Division.
"When you come into someone else's building and you come out flat, you give up two goals, it's tough," Nashville's Jason Arnott said. "We left Vokie (Vokoun) out to dry. They had something like 16 or 17 shots in the first period and that's way too many, especially in the start of the game."
The Predators would have locked up a playoff berth with a win or a Colorado loss, but the Avs topped Edmonton to prevent that from happening.
Vancouver scored a pair of goals in the latter stages of the first period to assume command.
The first came at the 10:58 mark, as Bulis came in on a rush along the left side and overpowered Vokoun with a slapshot from just above the circle.
"It's finally going in for me," Bulis said. "It's always tough when you come to a new team. I've been in Montreal five years, and now on a new team. It's not like I'm going to a new team every year. It was a tough start to the season, but I think it's turned around a little bit and coming my way."
The Canucks struck less than eight minutes later to make it 2-0. After the home team won a draw in enemy territory, Santala gained control between the circles and fired a shot that slipped under the left arm of Vokoun.
The scoring went silent from there, as the story of the game shifted to the defense of Vancouver.
With Luongo manning the pipes, the Canucks denied Nashville on all four of its power-play opportunities -- including three in the third period -- to secure the win.
"We hate to look at the standings and other teams and what they're doing," Vokoun said. "It's more important for us how we play and we didn't play good today. At least not for 60 minutes. That's a lot more important."
Nashville's Jordin Tootoo served the first of a five-game suspension for punching Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas in the face...The Canucks have posted wins in eight of their last nine games at GM Place and own an outstanding 25-9-3 home mark...This was Luongo's fourth shutout of the season and 31st of his career...The Canucks are now 0-for-22 in power-play chances against the Preds this season...Luongo has won 43 games and is four wins away from tying Bernie Parent's NHL record of 47 wins in a season (set in 1973-74 as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers). Luongo is 27-5-4 since a loss to the Blue Jackets on December 22.
03/22 02:05:50 ET