‘Resilient’ Vancouver Canucks pull off comeback, top Nashville Predators 4-3 in OT

'Resilient' Vancouver Canucks pull off comeback, top Nashville Predators 4-3 in OT
Vancouver Canucks right wing Brock Boeser (6) celebrates his game tying goal with right wing Conor Garland, right, late in the third period against the Nashville Predators during Game 4 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series Sunday, April 28, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn.

Before the playoffs began, Vancouver Canucks coach Rick Tocchet asked some of his players to pick a word to describe their team.

They chose resilience.

On Sunday, the team showed why, clawing its way back from a two-goal deficit late in the third period, then scoring early in overtime to beat the Nashville Predators 4-3 in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series.

“(Resilience) is our word,” Tocchet said. “It’s been like that all year. Certain spots we’ve been put in, somehow we get out of them. They might not look pretty. Like tonight wasn’t pretty. And we got out of it somehow.”

The Canucks are now up 3-1 in the best-of-seven series and will have a chance to advance Tuesday when they host the Predators in Game 5.

Brock Boeser was Vancouver’s engine Sunday.

He opened the scoring 2:55 into regulation, then forced overtime with two more goals late in the final three minutes of the third period.

“I think there’s been times this year where we showed a lot of character. And I think that’s prepared us for this moment. And I think the message is you can never give up until the final horn,” Boeser said.

“We didn’t give up there and we continued to battle back and we felt that momentum shift when we tied it up and we were feeling really good going into overtime.”

Elias Lindholm sealed the victory, scoring 1:02 into overtime. Canucks forward J.T. Miller contributed three assists on the night.

Mark Jankowski tied the game for the Predators midway through the first period before Gustav Nyquist gave Nashville the lead in the second and Filip Forsberg added a goal early in the third.

Juuse Saros made 16 saves for Nashville and Arturs Silovs — making his first ever NHL playoff appearance — stopped 27 of 30 shots for Vancouver.

Silovs said he wasn’t nervous going in.

“I was fine, actually,” he said. “I was just doing my things, relying on the things I worked on. And that’s it.”

The 23-year-old Latvian is the third goalie to play for the Canucks during the series after both all-star netminder Thatcher Demko and backup Casey DeSmith went down with injuries.

Demko backstopped Vancouver to a win in Game 1 but has been sidelined since by an undisclosed injury, and is considered week to week.

Backup Casey DeSmith took over for Games 2 and 3, going 1-1-0 in the two contests with a 2.02 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage.

Tocchet said DeSmith is dealing with an injury and the goaltending situation for Game 5 will be re-evaluated on Monday.

“We’ll see how it goes,” the coach said. “I’m proud, especially of the goaltenders. There’s a next-man-up mentality.”

The Canucks pulled Silovs in favour of an extra attacker with 3:21 left on the game clock.

The advantage paid off when Boeser put a shot in past Saros 17:11 into the period for his second goal of the game, cutting Vancouver’s deficit to 3-2.

With Silovs out of the net yet again, Boeser put a puck off the post, collected his own rebound and tucked it in past Saros to complete his hat trick with eight seconds left in regulation to force overtime.

Lindholm sealed the victory with a quick snipe past Saros 62 seconds into the extra frame. It was his second goal of the playoffs.

“Obviously when you score a goal like that, kind of relief and a lot emotions. I lost my voice a little bit,” Lindholm said. “But it’s a good feeling, obviously.”

The Predators know what’s at stake as they head back to Vancouver, said Forsberg.

“We’re facing elimination, we’ve got to go there and win a game, keep ourselves alive,” he said. “We kept investing in this series. Obviously, tonight didn’t go the way we wanted it, but at the same time, all those hits and all the investing, they’re taking that with them, too.”

Nashville has been a good road team all season and won Game 2 of the series in Vancouver, noted head coach Andrew Brunette.

“It hurts, but it’s supposed to hurt and it’s going to be hard, but it’s supposed to be hard. So I think that’s got to be the mentality. It’s going to be even harder the next game, and we’ll embrace it and … we’ll move straight ahead,” he said.

“And I think where our game’s at, I feel comfortable. I think we’re getting better, a little better each game and give ourselves a chance next game.”


Both sides went 0-for-2 on the power play Sunday. The Canucks have killed off 14 straight penalties.


Nashville defenceman Dante Fabro played his first game of the series. He slotted in for Spencer Stastney, who left Game 3 with an upper-body injury and is considered week to week.


The series returns to Vancouver for Game 5 on Tuesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 28, 2024.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian PressGemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

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