Sunday, May 8, 2011

Predators stave off elimination with Game 5 win over Canucks

Sunday, May 8, 2011








VANCOUVER ? The common mantra around the Predators is that they have no superstars. They need a team effort to win.





  • Joel Ward, left, scored a pair of third-period goals to help the Predators stave off elimination with a road win over the Canucks.

    By Jonathan Hayward, AP


    Joel Ward, left, scored a pair of third-period goals to help the Predators stave off elimination with a road win over the Canucks.



By Jonathan Hayward, AP


Joel Ward, left, scored a pair of third-period goals to help the Predators stave off elimination with a road win over the Canucks.






Joel Ward once again turned this notion on its head.


Behind the forward's strong play, the Predators beat the Canucks 4-3 on Saturday to win an elimination game for the first time in franchise history. The victory tightened the best-of-seven series at 3-2 and forced Game 6 in Nashville on Monday at Bridgestone Arena.


Ward's two third period goals proved the difference.


"I don't know if he has played a better game in such a big game for us," Coach Barry Trotz said.


Ward put the Predators ahead 3-2 just 1:14 into the third when he corralled a cross-ice pass from Mike Fisher and buried a shot past Roberto Luongo.


His back-breaking (and eventually game-winning) second goal came with 14:15 remaining off a giveaway by Canucks defenseman Alex Edler.


"I was getting some good bounces and just having a fun time," Ward said with a shrug. "It's a good time of year and I'm just trying to enjoy it and have fun with it."



Vancouver vs. Nashville




Canucks lead series 3-2


Game 1: Canucks 1, Predators 0



Game 2: Predators 2, Canucks 1 (2OT)



Game 3: Canucks 3, Predators 2 (OT)



Game 4: Canucks 4, Predators 2



Game 5: Predators 4, Canucks 3



May 9: at Nashville, 8 p.m. (Versus)



x-May 11: at Vancouver, TBA (Versus)



x-if necessary. All times ET






Just a 10-goal scorer in the regular season, Ward has become Nashville's most prolific playoff performer. He has seven goals this postseason, four in this series.


"Wardo is a huge player for us," forward David Legwand said. "He comes to play every night."


Legwand partially set up Ward's heroics. He scored Nashville's first goal short-handed (assisted by Ward) and buried a fluke goal early in the second period with a flip that bounced off Edler and knotted it 2-2.


The Canucks didn't score again until there was 3:46 left when Ryan Kesler netted his second goal of the game.





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