Puttin On The Bitz
The Vancouver Canucks brought a better effort against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday and battled back after blowing a two-goal lead to take two points in a 4-3 shootout victory.
Both Pekka Rinne and Roberto Luongo were solid in another busy night for the goaltenders that included a six-round shootout to decide a winner.
The Hat Trick
Bitz’ Big First
Byron Bitz began the game on Vancouver’s top line alongside Henrik Sedin and Mason Raymond and made the most of his opportunity on Tuesday. Bitz buried his first of the season from Henrik Sedin late in the first period only to respond with the primary assist on Daniel’s 23rd of the season 23 seconds later.
While Bitz’ spot on the top line was short-lived among the myriad of line combinations Canucks bench boss Alain Vigneault rolled out against the Predators, it is nice to see the former Bruin still has soft hands around the net.
Something about the Nashville Predators brings out the best in Ryan Kesler. Kesler ripped a slap shot past Pekka Rinne to open the scoring on Tuesday, extending his goal scoring streak to four games.
The confident center has been shooting the puck more often over the last several games and seems to have found his rhythm in the middle of the regular season.
Pivot Mike Fisher also added to his recent scoring spree against the Canucks, registering his fifth point is as many games with a goal against Roberto Luongo on Tuesday.
Rinne, Roberto Resilient
Roberto Luongo remained calm in his crease Tuesday, stopping five of six Predators faced in the shootout to lead his team to a sloppy shootout victory over Nashville.
Luongo and the Canucks allowed two goals against versus the Predators in a pitiful second period as Sergei Kostitsyn and Mike Fisher took advantage to tie the game at three.
Luongo’s acrobatic left pad save in the second period kept the game tied at three, setting the stage for a classic goaltending duel between the visitor and the red hot Pekka Rinne in the third.
The Canucks had another brutal second period Tuesday against the Predators but managed to ride the hot hand of Byron Bitz to take the extra point away from their conference rivals.
With the all-important pair of points in their back pocket, the Canucks can build upon two solid periods of play in Nashville as they continue their Western road trip Thursday in Minnesota.
“Yeah I knew what I was going to do, wasn’t sure if it was going to work, but it did.” Alex Edler joked following his shootout winner against Pekka Rinne on Tuesday.
The 3 Stars
1st. Henrik Sedin – GOALS: 0| PTS: 2| ASST: 2 SOG: 1| PLUS/MINUS: 1
2nd. Colin Wilson – GOALS: 1| PTS: 1| ASST: 0 SOG: 5| PLUS/MINUS: 1
3rd. Byron Bitz – VAN GOALS: 1| PTS: 2| ASST: 1 SOG: 2| PLUS/MINUS: 2
Vancouver 4, Nashville 3
When: 8:00 PM ET, Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee
Referees: Jean Hebert, Steve Kozari
Linesmen: Steve Miller, Brian Murphy