VANCOUVER, B.C. – Henrik and Daniel Sedin were frustrated after being held pointless in Vancouver’s loss to St. Louis on the weekend.
On Tuesday, the twins took it out on the Nashville Predators. The Sedins each had a goal and two assists as they led the Canucks to a 4-1 victory over the Predators, who saw their four-game road winning streak come to an end. Steve Bernier and Sami Salo also scored for the Canucks (21-16-0) as they moved into sole possession of eighth place in the Western Conference.
Henrik Sedin said he and his brother, usually paragons of politeness on and off the ice, weren’t in a great mood following Sunday’s loss to the Blues.
“When you don’t score in those games, it’s tough to take,” said Henrik, who has more points than any other player this month and is challenging for the league scoring title.
It was only their second victory in nine meetings with Central Division teams this season. Rebounding from the loss to St. Louis, they continued their trend of beating top clubs after losing to teams who are at or near the bottom of the standings.
“Those two have some of the best chemistry in the league for a reason,” said Nashville goaltender Dan Ellis. “They share the same bloodlines, the same everything.
“They know exactly where each other is and we did give them a little bit of time and space, especially low. We didn’t collapse enough on them and they were able to capitalize.”
Nashville (22-12-3) had been one of the NHL’s hottest scoring clubs, but Patric Hornqvist was the lone Predator to beat Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo, who made 20 saves while coming within five and a half minutes of a shutout.
The Predators lost for only the second time in eight games as their suddenly potent offence dried up. The Canucks outshot the Predators 36-21.
Vancouver scored on one of three power play chances while Nashville was blanked on two.
“(The Sedins) broke their one-game slump there, and then they’re right back at it,” said Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault.
After a scoreless first period, the Canucks dominated the second, built a 2-0 lead following 40 minutes, and never looked back.
“We know we played good (in the first), and we played a solid period, but also we know that our second period (historically) wasn’t good for us,” Henrik Sedin said.
“Throughout the whole season, we haven’t played good in the second period. I don’t know why. It’s something to figure out, but we didn’t give up anything in the second period. We were on them the whole second period. So it was good.”
The scoreless opening session marked the first time in 14 periods that the Predators failed to score. Nashville’s consecutive-period scoring run was the longest in the NHL this season.
No other team had scored in 14 straight periods since Buffalo pulled off the feat at this time last year. Buffalo’s streak ended on Dec. 22, 2008.
“We weren’t the team we pride ourselves on,” said Nashville winger Steve Sullivan. “We wanted more than that and to be better than that. They schooled us in a lot of areas. They played exactly how we enjoy playing.”
The Sedin twins especially.
“We gave them too many power-play opportunities,” said Sullivan. “We know how good they are on the power play. We just weren’t ourselves. There’s just no other excuse.”
The Predators did show early jump, forcing Luongo to make some tough saves. The Canucks eventually outshot the Predators 14-6 in the first period but could not beat Nashville goaltender Ellis.
“Obviously, we spoke about (the lack of goals) in the first intermission,” said Luongo. “We wanted to make sure that we kept playing the way we did in the first, and we didn’t have a problem with that.”
After Bernier opened the scoring 6:39 into the second period, Daniel Sedin scored the winner on a give-and-go with Henrik during a power play. The goal came after Nashville’s Dave Scatchard, who failed an injury-marred pre-season tryout with the Canucks, was penalized for goaltender interference.
“They had a higher compete level than us, more urgency, harder on the puck, they were more determined. That to me was the bottom line,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said.
Salo put the Canucks ahead 3-0 about seven minutes into the third as he one-timed Henrik Sedin’s pass. The point shot went in off Nashville defenceman Dan Hamhuis. Henrik Sedin gave the Canucks a 4-0 advantage as he put in Daniel’s pass from behind the net at 9:31 of the third.
“We deserved to win this game,” said Vigneault. “It’s unfortunate that we lost the shutout at the end of the game there. But, overall, our team was real good. They were focused. Even though we are going on a three-day (Christmas break), they did what they had to do.”
Hornqvist spoiled Luongo’s shutout bid with 5:24 left in the game on a backhand following a deke on a two-on-none.
The Vancouver goaltender banged his stick against the net in dejection afterwards.
“When you get down to the last couple of minutes and you have four goals it’s a little disappointing,” said Luongo. “But at the end of the day we got the two points and that’s all that matters.”
Notes: Nashville lost centre Jerrod Smithson early in the first to a hand injury . . . Canucks defenceman Alex Edler played his first game since suffering a shoulder injury Dec. 8 in Nashville . . . Nashville captain Jason Arnott returned after missing Saturday’s win in Calgary with an upper-body injury and had a game-high six shots, which were often dangerous . . . Canucks defenceman Mathieu Schneider was scratched after missing practice the previous two days for personal reasons . . . Winger Pavol Demitra has rejoined the Canucks after receiving treatment for a shoulder injury in his native Slovakia. He is not expected to resume playing for another three or four weeks, but hopes to represent his homeland in the Winter Olympics.