Subban Scores Twice, Predators Rout Skidding Canucks 7-1
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — P.K. Subban scored two strange goals, including one from center ice, and the Nashville Predators routed the skidding Vancouver Canucks 7-1 on Wednesday night.
Craig Smith had a goal and two assists, while Filip Forsberg and Kevin Fiala each added a goal and an assist. Viktor Arvidsson and Calle Jarnkrok provided the rest of the offense for Nashville (19-7-4), which got 25 saves from Pekka Rinne.
Ryan Johansen chipped in with two assists in his return to the lineup after missing three games with an upper-body injury as the Predators improved to 12-2-2 over their last 16 games.
Alexander Burmistrov scored for Vancouver (14-14-4). Anders Nilsson allowed all seven goals on 48 shots in the Canucks' fourth straight regulation loss.
The Predators stretched their lead to 3-0 at 3:05 of the second period when Subban grabbed a loose puck at his own blue line and fired a shot from center ice that appeared to be going wide, but instead deflected off Nilsson's glove and in for his second goal of the night and sixth of the season.
Burmistrov knocked down a knee-high pass from Henrik Sedin — the 800th assist of his career — in the slot before chipping it past Rinne for his second at 5:01.
But then Nashville, which lost 5-3 to the Canucks at home on Nov. 30, restored its three-goal lead just 59 seconds later on a power play when Forsberg's pass through the slot deflected off Vancouver forward Michael Chaput and past Nilsson for his 15th.
Smith made it 5-1 on a short-side shot into the top corner at 8:48 of the third for his 12th.
The Predators had a 2-on-0 rush moments later, but Scott Hartnell shot the puck just wide.
Nashville kept coming, with Fiala scoring his sixth at 11:57 — Nilsson broke his stick over the crossbar and tossed the handle into the netting behind his goal. Jarnkrok added his seventh just 40 seconds later to round out a three-goal outburst in 3:49.
The Canucks, who have allowed five or more goals seven times this season, limped into the game minus two-thirds of their top line. Bo Horvat (broken ankle) and Sven Baertschi (broken jaw) are both out for an extended period, while Brandon Sutter and Erik Gudbranson remain sidelined with upper-body injuries.
Nashville opened the scoring 1:33 in on the first of several weird sequences. Canucks defenseman Michael Del Zotto had his clearing attempt cut off by Subban, who flubbed a quick one-timer toward the net that a screened Nilsson, who had dropped to his knees, never saw before it looped up and over his shoulder.
Subban's fifth of the season also marked the fifth time Vancouver has allowed a goal on the opposition's first shot.
Vancouver went on a power play later in the period, but Nashville broke the other way on a rare short-handed 2-on-0 rush, with Johansen feeding Arvidsson for his 11th past a helpless Nilsson at 14:38.
The Canucks appeared to get on the scoreboard with 51.6 seconds left when Thomas Vanek scored on a nice re-direction off the rush. But the call was overturned after the Predators correctly challenged that Vanek was just offside in the lead-up to the goal.
NOTES: Hartnell returned to the lineup after missing 13 games with a lower-body injury. ... Vancouver has been outscored 20-5 since Horvat's injury.
Predators: Visit the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday.
Canucks: Continue a four-game homestand Friday against San Jose.