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Nashville at Vancouver

Predators' special teams sparkle; Canucks' Burrows rips referee

CBSSports.com wire reports
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Nashville's power play delivered a big victory for the Predators and an even bigger controversy for the Vancouver Canucks.

Defenseman Shea Weber ripped a one-timer past goalie Roberto Luongo on a 4-on-3 advantage with 4:03 left in the third period to lift the Predators to a 3-2 victory against the Canucks on Monday night.

  Canucks' Burrows claims referee had vendetta against him

"It's been struggling and we needed to get it going somehow," Weber, who has nine points in his past seven games, said of a Nashville power play ranked 25th in the NHL despite scoring four times in the previous three games.

Ryan Jones also scored on a power play, Joel Ward added a short-handed goal, and Dan Ellis made 30 saves for the Predators, who leapfrogged the Canucks into a fifth-place tie with Phoenix in the Western Conference.

"That's something we've really talked about lately: Our special teams have got to get a lot better," Weber said. "They're going to win us games. The Western Conference is so tight and teams are so good 5-on-5, you've got to be good on special teams."

The abundance of special-teams play so late in a tight game was an issue for a Canucks team that lost in regulation for the first time in 10 games (7-1-2).

Alex Burrows scored twice and Daniel Sedin had two assists to reach 500 career points as the Canucks top line centered by Henrik Sedin had another big night offensively. But after the trio combined for five points and each player extended their points streaks, Burrows and Henrik were both in the penalty box when Weber scored the winner on a 4-on-3 advantage.

Burrows, who was also called for diving early in the third period, accused referee Stephane Auger of targeting him, and received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and 10-minute misconduct with less than four seconds left. He could be facing a stiffer penalty from the NHL after sounding off to the media after.

"It was personal," said Burrows, who said Auger was upset over a Dec. 8 hit in Nashville that left Burrows lying on the ice, and resulted in Predators forward Jerred Smithson receiving a five minute major penalty for charging. "It started in warm up before the anthem. The ref came over to me and said I made him look bad in Nashville on the Smithson hit. He said he was going to get me back tonight and he did his job in the third."

Burrows' interference penalty ended a Vancouver power play after only four seconds, and Henrik Sedin's third penalty of the game put the Predators up a man. That gave Weber plenty of time to tee Steve Sullivan's cross-ice pass at the top of the circle and wire it over Luongo's shoulder.

"That's the first time I've seen calls like that, especially when the game is on the line," said Luongo, who finished with 22 saves. "It cost us the game."

Ward opened the scoring on a short-handed breakaway two minutes in, but Burrows tied it with 3:18 left in the first. After helping Henrik Sedin win a faceoff in the offensive zone, Burrows went straight to the back side of the goal mouth for an easy tap-in after Daniel Sedin's sharp-angle shot out of the corner bounced to him off Ellis. Jones put Nashville back ahead with a power-play deflection with 28 seconds left in the first period -- his first point in 11 games -- but Burrows tied it again on a power-play redirection 1:30 into the second after Ellis was given a roughing penalty for a gloved shove at Ryan Kesler's head.

Burrows has scored nine of his 19 goals in the past five games, and earlier in the day was named the NHL's first star for last week after scoring three goals in back-to-back games as the Canucks' No. 1 line continues to dominate.

Henrik Sedin, who leads the NHL with 63 points, extended his point streak to 10 games (five goals and 14 assists). Burrows (nine goals and two assists) and Daniel Sedin (three goals, eight assists) both stretched their streaks to six games on a top line that has now combined for 19 goals and 49 points in the past 10 games. But it was their time in the penalty box late that will be remembered.

"After my second penalty, I skated by him and he said if you say a word I am going to kick you out, so I didn't say a word because I still thought we could come back and win the game," Burrows said. "But with three seconds left and the faceoff outside the zone, I thought I could tell him what I thought about him."

The officiating crew politely declined to comment when approached by the Associated Press while leaving the arena.

Notes

  • Nashville captain Jason Arnott missed a second game with an upper-body injury and wasn't with the team to start a three-game Western Canadian trip that continues in Edmonton on Tuesday.
  • Ward was questionable to play after missing Saturday's game in Anaheim with a wrist injury.
  • Canucks D Sami Salo returned after missing one game because his eye was swollen shut after being clipped by a teammate's high stick.
  • Bernier, who hurt his groin injury on a partial breakaway Saturday, was replaced by Jannik Hansen, a healthy scratch the previous six games.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Force and Sully taunt Ryan Jones during his sin-bin stint, but Nashville gets the last laugh.  (Getty Images)
Force and Sully taunt Ryan Jones during his sin-bin stint, but Nashville gets the last laugh. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Nashville  (27-16-3) «2013
Vancouver (27-17-2)1102
Three Stars
J. Ward
NSH


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
S. Weber
NSH


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
A. Burrows
VAN


Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
02:02Short - Joel Ward (8), Wrist Shot, Unassisted.
16:42Alexandre Burrows (18), Snap Shot. Assist: Sedin, Sedin
19:32Power Play - Ryan Jones (5), Tip-In. Assist: Legwand, Franson
2ND PERIOD
01:30Power Play - Alexandre Burrows (19), Tip-In. Assist: Edler, Sedin
3RD PERIOD
15:57Power Play - Shea Weber (8), Slap Shot. Assist: Suter, Sullivan
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
36.0Legwand, 2 min, Hooking
18:45Sedin, 2 min, Hooking
2ND PERIOD
01:06Ellis, 2 min, Roughing
08:30Bolduc, 2 min, Tripping
18:10Sedin, 2 min, Goaltender Interference
3RD PERIOD
03:26Burrows, 2 min, Diving/Embellishment
06:15Bouillon, 2 min, Delay of Game
09:21Mitchell, 2 min, Interference
15:11Jones, 2 min, Hooking
15:15Burrows, 2 min, Interference
15:33Sedin, 2 min, Tripping
19:56Burrows, 2 min, Unsportsmanlike Conduct
19:56Burrows, 10 min, Misconduct
Shots On Goal
 123T
Nashville88925
Vancouver1311832
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Dan Ellis60:00302
Roberto Luongo58:43223
Game Information
Attendance - 18810
Referees - Stephane Auger, Dennis LaRue
Linesmen - Vaughan Rody, Brian Mach
 
Other Games
SJ 2 Final
LA 1
Pitt 3 Final
Min 4
Colo 3 Final
Cal 2