NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Casey DeSmith made 30 saves for his first postseason victory as the Vancouver Canucks held on to beat the Nashville Predators 2-1 Friday night for a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven series to open the NHL playoffs.

This was DeSmith’s second straight start and third all-time in the playoffs with Thatcher Demko out since the series opener with an injury.

J.T. Miller had a power-play goal and an assist, and Brock Boeser’s power-play goal wound up the game-winner. Quinn Hughes had two assists as Vancouver took back home-ice advantage.

Game 4 is Sunday in Nashville.

Luke Evangelista helped Nashville avoid being shut out as he put a wrister top shelf with 3:12 remaining. Coach Andrew Brunette then took his timeout with 2:10 left and pulled goalie Juuse Saros. Nashville couldn’t get the puck past DeSmith again.

The Canucks became the first team to win a playoff game with only 12 shots on goal since Pittsburgh beat Nashville in Game 1 of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final.

The Canucks went 2 for 3 on the power play and held Nashville scoreless on five advantages. The Predators are just 1 for 14 in this series on the power play.

The Predators fell to 11-4 in Game 3s on home ice, and this was their second straight loss. They lost Game 3 when they were swept by Colorado in 2022.

The Predators started this game staying in the offensive zone and taking the first four shots of the game. They couldn’t capitalize on three power plays in the first period.

Vancouver did. Mark Jankowski failed to clear the puck after Michael McCarron went to the box for hitting DeSmith behind the net. Miller , who had 103 points in the regular season, scored his first goal this postseason at with 6:37 left for a 1-0 lead on their first shot on net.

Nashville had a chance to tie it up 90 seconds into the second off a slap shot by Colton Sissons that dribbled past DeSmith into the blue ice until a teammate cleared the puck. Boeser put the Canucks up 2-0 with his power-play goal at 4:33.

Boeser tipped the puck past Saros from in front off a pass from Miller.

DeSmith made a save off a shot from Filip Forsberg. Then he stopped a shot from Evangelista off the rebound with his left leg with 6:51 left in the second.

The Canucks goalie also made a nice stop at the right post in the third on Cole Smith to preserve the shutout. He had help as the Canucks blocked 30 shots after Nashville matched a playoff franchise-record by blocking 30 shots in regulation to win Game 2.


The Canucks will try to push Nashville to the brink of elimination Sunday. The Predators are 7-7 in Game 4s on their home ice. ___

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