Vancouver Canucks claw out 4-2 win over Nashville Predators in Game 1

Vancouver Canucks’ Dakota Joshua, back center, is mobbed by his teammates after scoring his first goal as Nashville Predators’ Jeremy Lauzon (3) skates to the bench during the third period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series , in Vancouver, on Sunday, April 21, 2024. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press – image credit)

The Vancouver Canucks mounted a third-period comeback to take Game 1 of their best-of-seven series against the Nashville Predators 4-2, thanks to two goals from forward Dakota Joshua.

Nine years since the Canucks last hosted a Stanley Cup playoffs game, the Predators entered a deafening Rogers Arena on Sunday night.

Starting goaltender Thatcher Demko was a steadying presence to begin the game, but after the team failed to capitalize on an early power play, the Predators dug in and Jason Zucker gave Nashville the first goal of the series more than 15 minutes into the period.

Nashville Predators' Luke Evangelista, left, and Ryan O'Reilly celebrate O'Reilly's goal against the Vancouver Canucks during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series, in Vancouver, on Sunday, April 21, 2024.
Nashville Predators’ Luke Evangelista, left, and Ryan O’Reilly celebrate O’Reilly’s goal against the Vancouver Canucks during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series, in Vancouver, on Sunday, April 21, 2024.

Nashville Predators’ Luke Evangelista, left, and Ryan O’Reilly celebrate O’Reilly’s goal against the Vancouver Canucks during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series, in Vancouver, on Sunday, April 21, 2024. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

After a paltry 4 shots in the first frame, it took just 47 seconds for the Canucks to pull even in the second, as centerman Elias Lindholm entered Nashville’s zone and scored Vancouver’s first goal of the 2024 NHL playoffs.

Vancouver’s Teddy Blueger took an interference penalty halfway through the second period, and Nashville’s Ryan O’Reilly capitalized by wristing a shot over the top of Demko’s glove hand to retake the lead 2-1.

The tally was O’Reilly’s 26th career playoff goal. Nashville went 1-for-4 on the power play Sunday while Vancouver was 0-for-3.

The two teams traded chances in the third period before Canucks captain Quinn Hughes scored to level up the game.

Vancouver Canucks' Filip Hronek (17) shoots the puck down the ice away from Nashville Predators' Filip Forsberg (9) during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series, in Vancouver, on Sunday, April 21, 2024.Vancouver Canucks' Filip Hronek (17) shoots the puck down the ice away from Nashville Predators' Filip Forsberg (9) during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series, in Vancouver, on Sunday, April 21, 2024.
Vancouver Canucks’ Filip Hronek (17) shoots the puck down the ice away from Nashville Predators’ Filip Forsberg (9) during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series, in Vancouver, on Sunday, April 21, 2024.

Vancouver Canucks’ Filip Hronek (17) shoots the puck down the ice away from Nashville Predators’ Filip Forsberg (9) during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series, in Vancouver, on Sunday, April 21, 2024. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

And before the playmakers behind that goal were even announced in the arena, Joshua gave the Canucks their first lead of the playoffs with a goal in tight against goaltender Juuse Saros just 12 seconds later.

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Nashville pulled Saros several minutes later for the extra attacker, but with under two minutes to play, Joshua stretched a shot from the Canucks’ end to find the empty net for his second goal of the game.

Sunday’s game proved to be a physical affair, with the Canucks registering 39 hits and the Predators putting up 32. Nashville winger Cole Smith led the category with six.

Vancouver Canucks' Elias Lindholm (23) celebrates his goal against the Nashville Predators during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series, in Vancouver, on Sunday, April 21, 2024.Vancouver Canucks' Elias Lindholm (23) celebrates his goal against the Nashville Predators during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series, in Vancouver, on Sunday, April 21, 2024.
Vancouver Canucks’ Elias Lindholm (23) celebrates his goal against the Nashville Predators during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series, in Vancouver, on Sunday, April 21, 2024.

Vancouver Canucks’ Elias Lindholm (23) celebrates his goal against the Nashville Predators during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series, in Vancouver, on Sunday, April 21, 2024. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Josi now has 32 career post-season assists, setting a new high for the Predators. He also holds the franchise mark for playoff points by a defenseman with 43.

Game two returns to Rogers Arena on Tuesday at 7 pm PT.

 
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