The Vancouver Canucks wrapped up first place in the Western Conference thanks to a big third period from their top line.
Alex Burrows scored twice in the third period to lead the Canucks to a 3-1 victory over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night.
Vancouver clinched the top spot in the West and set a franchise record with their ninth straight road win.
“We talked about getting in, getting first in our division, and if the conference was there, go for it,” Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. “We did it and we clinched it. It is a good moment for our group.”
Mike Fisher scored for Nashville.
Vancouver dominated the third period, outshooting the Predators 14-2.
“We just didn’t have enough of that bite in our game, that determination, that urgency, you can use a multitude of words,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “We managed the game pretty well in the first two periods. The last thing you want against a team like the Vancouver Canucks is to be on your heels right off the start of the third period when you are up by a goal.”
Elsewhere in the NHL it was: Montreal 3 Atlanta 1; Toronto 4 Buffalo 3; Tampa Bay 5 Ottawa 2;Los Angeles 2 Edmonton 0; Philadelphia 5 Pittsburgh 2; Carolina 3 Washington 2 (SO); Boston 3 Chicago 0; Columbus 3 Florida 2; St. Louis 3 Minnesota 2 (SO); and Phoenix 2 Dallas 1 (SO).
At Nashville, Tenn., Vancouver opened the scoring when Daniel Sedin sent Burrows in on a breakaway with a backhanded pass. Burrows beat goalie Pekka Rinne with a backhanded shot high to the glove side at 17:31 of the third.
“I saw it was a turnover, and I knew that Danny had it,” Burrows said. “I knew he was going to thread the needle to me, and it was a perfect pass right on my stick.”
Earlier in the third, Burrows drew Vancouver even at 1:17.
Behind the Nashville net on the left side, Daniel Sedin sent a pass to twin brother Henrik on the right side, where he quickly fired a pass to Burrows all alone in front of Rinne. Burrows beat Rinne with a one-timer for his 23rd goal.
“That early goal really helped us,” Henrik Sedin said. “When Burrows put that in, you could tell they were back on their heels a little bit and we took over the game. Sometimes all you need is a goal like that.”
At 14:01 of the second, Jonathon Blum’s shot from above the right circle was stopped by Roberto Luongo, but the rebound ended up at the bottom of the right circle where Fisher was there to corral the puck and fire it high above the fallen goalie.
“We played OK the first couple of periods, and then we came out a little flat in the third,” Fisher said. “They were more hungry than us, and we didn’t realize the situation and respond.”
Fisher broke a 17-game goal-less stretch Saturday, and now has three goals in two games.
Aaron Rome added an empty-net goal in the final minute. It was his second NHL goal and first in 109 games.
At Montreal, Roman Hamrlik ended the Canadiens’ 199-minute one-second scoring drought and Mathieu Darche scored 11 seconds later in a win over Atlanta.
At Toronto, Mikhail Grabovski scored in the second period, rookie Nazem Kadri added two assists to help the Maple Leafs keep their playoff hopes alive with a win over Buffalo.
At Tampa, Fla., Martin St. Louis and Dominic Moore both scored two goals to lead the Lightning past Ottawa.
At Edmonton, Dustin Brown scored two goals and Jonathan Bernier stopped 32 shots to record his third shutout of the season in LosAngeles’ victory over the last-place Oilers.
At Pittsburgh, Pa., Ville Leino scored twice in the third period, and Philadelphia rallied to beat the Penguins and stay atop the Eastern Conference.
At Washington, Jeff Skinner scored a goal and converted his shootout attempt to lift Carolina to a win against the Capitals.
At Boston, Tim Thomas stopped 32 shots for his ninth shutout of the season, and Mark Recchi moved into 12th on the NHL’s career points list as the Bruins beat Chicago.
At Columbus, Ohio, Maksim Mayorov had the lone goal in his first NHL shootout, and the Blue Jackets’ Steve Mason stopped all three Florida attempts.
At St. Louis, Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored in regulation and in the shootout, helping Minnesota end an eight-game losing streak by beating the Blues.
At Glendale, Ariz., Ilya Bryzgalov had a career-high 44 saves, then made the game-saving pad block in a shootout to preserve Phoenix’s victory over Dallas.