The Vancouver Canucks are off to a surprisingly hot start to the season, and will not allow the frustration of their last outing to carry forward when they host the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.
The Canucks saw their three-game winning streak snapped with a 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday, but that defeat is not the kind that should drop their spirits. Other than New York taking advantage with its power play — all three Rangers goals in regulation came on the man-advantage — the Canucks controlled the bulk of the play.
“We stuck with it and deserved better,” defenseman Tyler Myers said. “We’ll look at the penalty kill and get better, but we were sound structurally and it was one of our better and most complete games this year.
“We’re doing a really good job of taking it day to day and not worried about our record. Getting more consistent is a big thing for our group.”
Vancouver, second in the Pacific Division, had every right to cry foul when the Rangers scored the overtime winner. An obvious tripping penalty on New York was missed, which created the rush that led to the difference-making goal, but with the Canucks confident in their game, it is easier to let go.
“Every loss is tough when you give your best effort on a back-to-back and guys really dug in,” forward Conor Garland said. “To not get to a (second) point, that’s frustrating, but you know for us to get one against one of the best teams in the league … it’s good.”
The Predators are kicking off a five-game road trip having won three of four games and coming off Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
After struggling to start the season with losses in three of four outings, the Predators believe they have turned their fortunes.
“They’re a great team on the other side, but I thought we went toe-to-toe with them all night,” forward Filip Forsberg said of Toronto. “It was a pretty even hockey match. I’m sure (fans) enjoyed watching it. We had a good time playing it as well.
“I thought we played overtime about as good as you can in this league and kept the puck and wore them down.”
The Predators twice erased a deficit during regulation time — both thanks to goals by Ryan O’Reilly — and then maintained puck possession almost every second of the overtime frame before Roman Josi scored the winning goal.
Winning in that manner goes a long way to building momentum for a Nashville team that has overhauled its roster since the middle of last season.
“In the first couple of games we were in position to get some points and we didn’t get them in the third period,” Josi said. “(Saturday) was huge. At home, 2-2 going into the third and finding a way to get two points is big for our group.”
With both of O’Reilly’s goals coming on the power play, the Predators have netted six man-advantage markers in the past four games.
“It’s so important,” O’Reilly said. “Our first three games of the season, we did some great five-on-five things and just couldn’t bury a power play.
“It was nice to get them like that. If we are going to have success, we’ve got to step up on the power play.”