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Demko-less Canucks fall to Predators in Game 2

The Vancouver Canucks controlled the puck but couldn't turn that control into shots on net against the Nashville Predators.
The Vancouver Canucks faced the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night for their second game of round one.

The Vancouver Canucks had the territorial advantage on home ice but couldn't turn it into their second win of their first-round series.

With Thatcher Demko out of the lineup, Casey DeSmith drew into the lineup for the Canucks in Game 2 against the Nashville Predators. It was just his second-ever start in the NHL playoffs in his career.

It started poorly for DeSmith, who let in a goal on the first shot he faced a minute into the game. DeSmith slid hard to his left on a point shot by Filip Forsberg, anticipating a tip by Ryan O'Reilly at the top of the crease. Instead, the tip came from further out, as former Canuck Anthony Beauvillier dragged the puck back against the grain past where DeSmith had just vacated.

The Canucks took over the first period from there, spending the vast majority of the opening frame in the offensive zone. The only issue is that the Canucks couldn't get shots to the net to force Predators goaltender Juuse Saros to make a save. They finished the period with just four shots on net on 24 attempts.

Their final shot attempt of the period was emblematic of their struggles: on a late power play, the Canucks executed a slick passing sequence to give Elias Pettersson an open net. Unlike on a previous opportunity, Pettersson didn't hesitate but pulled the shot wide to hit the side of the net. He collapsed to his knees in disbelief as the horn sounded to end the first period.

The second period didn't start much better, as Noah Juulsen, drawing into the lineup for a presumably injured Tyler Myers, took a penalty, then, after he came out of the box, got beaten out of the corner by Filip Forsberg, who got DeSmith off the post with a quick deke, then beat him short side to make it 2-0.

Shortly after, a giveaway by Pettersson at the Canucks' blue line led to the 3-0 goal for the Predators. DeSmith stopped Beauvillier's initial shot but Colton Sissons was first to the rebound to give the Predators a three-goal lead.

The Canucks clawed one back with a few minutes remaining in the second. After some heavy pressure in the offensive zone that still wasn't leading to shots on goal, Nikita Zadorov stepped up to rip a shot past Saros's blocker to get the Canucks on the board.

Just as the first period ended with Pettersson hitting the side of the net, the second period ended with another near miss for the Canucks. This time it was a J.T. Miller slap pass that hit Predators' defenceman Alexandre Carrier, deflected off Saros, then hit the post. That left the Canucks down by two going into the final frame.

The snakebites continued in the third. J.T. Miller set up Pius Suter for a backdoor chance that the winger sent just wide, Dakota Joshua hit the post out of a netfront battle, and Boeser got robbed on a point-blank chance in the slot.

As the Canucks started to throw everything toward the net, the Predators threw everything in front of the puck, blocking shot after shot to keep the score 3-1.

When Kiefer Sherwood poked the puck past Quinn Hughes at the blue line and scored into the Canucks' empty net to make it 4-1, it was the Predators' first shot of the third period.

With the win, the Predators tied the series 1-1 with Game 3 coming on Friday, April 26 in Nashville.


Want a more in-depth recap of the game? Read the I Watched This Game feature and don't forget to follow @passittobulis on X/Twitter to stay updated on the Canucks throughout the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs.