Mike Fisher would have a hand in all three Nashville goals as the Predators muscled past the Vancouver Canucks by a score of 3-1 - Vancouver's first regulation loss since Jan. 15.
With Pekka Rinne and Roberto Luongo facing off at Bridgestone Arena, a goaltending duel was to be expected. Given that Vancouver had not lost a game in regulation since Jan. 15, a game that went beyond the 60-minute mark seemed almost as likely.
Through the first period, the game seemed to go according to script, with both netminders turning aside quality chances from each team. With the Predators working to break through the Vancouver defense, Henrik Sedin found himself in the penalty box on a tripping call just before the five-minute mark of the second period.
Moving the puck through the Canucks penalty kill, the Predators set up a play from Shea Weber at the blue line across to Martin Erat, then a quick pass down to Ryan Suter around the net. Suter found a passing lane through the crease to Mike Fisher at the goal mouth, and Mr. Underwood tapped the puck into an open net to put the Predators ahead.
With Francis Bouillon in the penalty box for tripping, the Canucks looked to even the score with one of the league's best power plays, but Fisher took advantage again, taking a loose puck from a broken play at the top of the Nashville zone and racing up ice on an odd man rush with Segei Kostitsyn. Forcing Luongo to commit to the shot, Fisher sent a pass to the young Belarusian, setting him up for his first shorthanded goal of the season.
Dale Weise finally solved Rinne with a backhander late in the second period, giving Vancouver a chance to get back into the game, but the Finnish netminder frustrated their rally attempts, finally forcing Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault to call Luongo to the bench for an extra attacker with just over three minutes left.
With the net empty, the Predators missed on several long distance attempts to secure their win, but Fisher would play in one more time, moving the puck out of his own zone to Erat before the veteran passed off to David Legwand to keep the play onsides. Winding up, Legwand fired a hard blast from just inside the blue line, giving Nashville the insurance to secure the 3-1 victory.