Vancouver Canucks blank Predators
Vancouver Canucks forward Nicklas Jensen moves the puck in front of Nashville Predators goaltender Carter Hutton during the first period at Rogers Arena on Wednesday night. (REUTERS)
According to one calculated prediction, the Vancouver Canucks had a 1.4% chance of making the playoffs prior to Wednesday’s game.
After their 2-0 win over the Nashville Predators, that number moves a little bit higher. But, let’s be honest, not by a lot.
At Rogers Arena, it was just one of those games you already knew wasn’t going to be pretty.
The scenario both teams were in — outside of the playoffs with a faint hope of making it — should have meant more urgency.
There should probably have been more intensity and just a bigger sense of a do-or-die attitude.
Instead, it was a whole lot of nothing for the most part. That was until Nicklas Jensen struck.
The rookie scored his third goal of the season about six minutes into the third period, wiring his shot top shelf past goalie Carter Hutton.
And what a shot it was to break the ice.
That led to another Vancouver tally about a minute later — an Alex Edler power play point shot, giving the defenceman his sixth of the season.
Combine those two markers with a 30-save performance by goalie Eddie Lack — his fourth shutout of the season — and the Canucks pick up their 32nd victory of the season.
Still, with everyone watching the standings these days, it was a much-needed victory considering how the Winnipeg Jets, who are also in the thick of the race of the final Western Conference playoff spot, picked up two points.
The Jets won their game in overtime against the Colorado Avalanche earlier Wednesday, meaning they temporarily leapfrogged the Canucks into 10th spot with a game in hand.
Meanwhile, the Preds are now six points back of the Canucks with two games in hand while Vancouver, with 10 more regular season games, sit three points behind the eighth-place Phoenix Coyotes.
However, the Canucks have played three more games than the ‘Yotes and four more than the ninth-ranked Dallas Stars.
Do the math, it still doesn’t look good.
But for now, it’s one game at a time as the good ol’ cliche goes. And the Canucks are doing a good job of staying consistent, having won-one-lost-one in their last seven games.
They finished with 22 shots on Hutton, who was starting in place of regular starter Pekka Rinne.
The Canucks also went a perfect one-for-one on the power play, while killing off all four of the Preds chances.
They’ll also get an extended break, not playing until Sunday when they face the lowly Buffalo Sabres at home.
It will mark the second time Cody Hodgson has returned to Rogers Arena since being dealt in a trade involving Zack Kassian about two years ago.
Earlier Wednesday, the team announced that Chris Tanev will likely be out for the rest of the season with broken fingers.
The defenceman blocked a Steven Stamkos shot in Tampa Bay on Monday.