Nashville, TN – Jason Garrison scored the game-winner late in the second period, as the Vancouver Canucks eliminated the Nashville Predators from playoff contention with a 5-2 triumph on Monday at Bridgestone Arena.
Ryan Kesler lit the lamp twice, while Alexandre Burrows and Derek Roy each scored once for the Canucks, who have won five of their last six and hold a five-point lead over the Minnesota Wild atop the Northwest Division.
Roberto Luongo posted 36 saves to backstop the victory.
Nick Spaling and Bobby Butler netted the Nashville goals, while Pekka Rinne surrendered all five goals on 24 shots for the Predators, who have lost a franchise record-tying seven straight games.
"We still have to play hard," Nashville captain Shea Weber said. "It's obviously tough. We have to find a way to battle here in the last games and try to get some wins."
With the game locked at 2-2 late in the second, Nashville defenseman Hal Gill was whistled for roughing at the 16:56 mark and the Canucks quickly capitalized, as Garrison one-timed a blast from the high slot that snuck through a screen and found the back of the net for a 3-2 lead at 17:02.
"We were good in the first, and then for whatever reason, our play slipped in the second until Henrik's line went out there and had a real strong shift," Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. "That enabled us to go on the power play and score a goal."
Burrows padded the lead 50 seconds into the third when he re-directed Daniel Sedin's shot from the high slot through the five-hole of Rinne to make it 4-2.
Kesler capped the scoring at the 15:53 mark, as he buried a wrister from the right circle past a sprawling Rinne to account for the final margin.
The Predators were called for too many men on the ice just 50 seconds into the contest, giving the Canucks an early power play which they converted shortly after when Kesler rifled a wrister from the high slot that whizzed past the blocker side of Rinne for a 1-0 lead just 1:34 in.
Roy followed with his fifth of the season exactly three minutes later when he recovered a rebound on the low right side and found the back of the net with a diving backhander for a 2-0 lead.
Nashville cut the margin in half early in the second when Spaling made his way to the slot and received a behind-the-net feed from Sergei Kostitsyn before pounding a one-timer past Luongo to make it 2-1 at the 1:34 mark.
The Preds then found the equalizer at the 11:40 mark when Butler skated down the right wing and made his way into the right circle before firing a wrister that beat Luongo high to the far side.
Nashville had qualified for the playoffs seven times in the previous eight seasons ... Vancouver improved to 11-7-3 on the road, while Nashville fell to 10-9-4 at home ... Vancouver went 2-for-4 on the power play ... Nashville failed on all three of its opportunities with the man advantage ... Roy also registered an assist, while Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and Jannik Hansen each posted two helpers.