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Apr 22, 2024 1:06 am

Rapid-fire goals lift Canucks over Predators to open series

canucks, predators

Pius Suter and Dakota Joshua scored 12 seconds apart midway through the third period as the host Vancouver Canucks beat the Nashville Predators 4-2 Sunday in Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series on Sunday.

The comeback victory featured the fastest pair of playoff goals in Canucks franchise history.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series will be Tuesday in Vancouver.

Joshua scored twice in a three-point outing, and Elias Lindholm also scored for Vancouver. Goaltender Thatcher Demko made 20 saves.

Jason Zucker and Ryan O’Reilly replied for the Predators, while goalie Juuse Saros stopped 17 shots.

With his team trailing, Quinn Hughes cued up the comeback at 8:59 of the final frame. The Canucks captain whipped a long point shot that deflected off Suter and found the net.

Then, Joshua put the Canucks ahead before the Suter goal could be announced. Thanks to a strong forecheck by Lindholm, Conor Garland gained the puck, fed a pass to Joshua in the slot, and he buried the opportunity.

Joshua’s empty-net goal with 88 seconds remaining rounded out the scoring. Joshua collected 18 goals and 32 points in the regular season.

The Predators, who collected the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, had the Pacific Division champion-Canucks where they wanted them until the quick-strike goals.

Zucker, acquired at the trade deadline, opened the scoring at 16:15 of the first period. Off a won offensive-zone face-off, Zucker fired a shot from the right circle that ricocheted slightly off a defender and into the top shelf.

Lindholm, Vancouver’s key in-season trade acquisition, tied the clash 47 seconds into the second period by burying a screened shot off the rush.

O’Reilly’s power-play goal restored Nashville’s lead midway through the second period. Left alone at the left dot, O’Reilly wired a shot past Demko’s glove to make it a 2-1 count.

–Field Level Media

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