NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Thatcher Demko made 31 saves to lead the Vancouver Canucks over the skidding Nashville Predators 3-1 on Tuesday night.
Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser and Juho Lammikko scored in Vancouver’s second consecutive victory. The win ended the Canucks’ stretch of nine straight road games on a high note. Vancouver last played at home Dec. 14.
“We have a lot of heart,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We’ve got a great goaltender. There’s no doubt about it. He stopped two or three clean-cut breakaways tonight. He’s a wall back there.”
Philip Tomasino scored and David Rittich turned away 21 shots for Nashville, which has lost four in a row. The Predators went 12-1-1 in their 14 previous games before the slide.
“We’ve had some good stretches here, and I think now the attention to detail we need to play with, the consistency level with that, needs to be better and that’s what we want to focus on here,” coach John Hynes said. “We’re not playing the way we need to play to give ourselves a chance to win.”
Tomasino scored the opening goal at 2:51 of the second period.
With the Predators on a power play, Tomasino beat Demko high to the far side with a half slap shot from just above the right faceoff dot for the rookie’s sixth goal of the season.
Pettersson tied it at 7:23 of the second, cleaning up the rebound of Vasily Podkolzin’s shot from the slot.
“In the second, I felt like we didn’t play hard enough,” Predators captain Roman Josi said. “We gave them a lot of time in our zone. They started creating a lot of stuff in our end. All in all, it’s a disappointing loss. There’s definitely things we could have done better.”
Pettersson has three goals in his last two games.
Vancouver took a 2-1 lead at 3:41 of the second on Boeser’s power-play goal. J.T. Miller sent a wrist shot on net from the left circle. Standing just outside the crease, Boeser tipped the puck by Rittich.
“We were looking for some certain plays, and that was one there,” Boeser said. “We went low a few times. (Miller) made a great shot-pass there.”
Lammikko tipped home a loose puck at 12:19 of the third.
Demko was sharp, particularly in the second period, when he denied 14 of Nashville's 15 shots on goal. Demko was recently selected to his first All-Star Game.
“I think it was huge to lose three and then bounce back and win two,” Demko said. “We’ve just got to get our wins here one at a time.”
Pettersson and Boeser both enjoy seeing Nashville on the schedule.
Pettersson has five goals and six assists in eight career games against the Predators. Boeser has seven goals and four assists in 10 games versus Nashville.
Rittich made his seventh appearance of the season, but first on home ice. Known as Big Save Dave, Rittich had only played in Bridgestone Arena as a visitor prior to signing with the Predators this offseason.
Nashville starter Juuse Saros has seen the lion’s share of the work in net this season, making 33 appearances to date. Saros’ strong performance has made him an early contender for the Vezina Trophy.
Carter Hutton is the last Predators goalie other than Saros or Pekka Rinne to win at home, on Jan. 16, 2016.
Predators: Host the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.
Canucks: Open a three-game homestand Friday against the Florida Panthers.
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Jim Diamond, The Associated Press