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Recap: Predators , Canucks
Date: March 03, 2011 10:00 PM EDT
  

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) - Blake Geoffrion is too busy trying to make the playoffs with the Nashville Predators to worry about making NHL history himself.

Geoffrion broke a scoreless tie 1:59 into the third period, Pekka Rinne stopped 29 shots and Nashville beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-0 on Thursday night.

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It's been a big week for 23-year-old rookie, who scored his first NHL goal in his third career game Tuesday in Edmonton after becoming the first Tennessee native and the first fourth-generation player to make the NHL.

Geoffrion's dad, Danny, played 111 NHL games, and both his grandfather, Bernie ``Boom Boom' Geoffrion, and great grandfather, Howie Morenz, are in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

``It's been a whirlwind,' Geoffrion said. ``I try not to think about it too much with what's on the line here and making the playoffs and it's so tight. I'll think about all that stuff after the year and take it all in then.'

Geoffrion's decisive goal moved Nashville back into a playoff position at the bottom of the tight Western Conference.

He parked atop the crease unchecked and quickly snapped Jordin Tootoo's pass from the corner behind the net in before Roberto Luongo could get across his crease. Geoffrion was quick to credit Tootoo - for both the pass and for helping settle him down in his first NHL week.

``I just stopped in front and Toots made one heck of a pass, a little sauce pass over the stick and I buried it,' Geoffrion said. ``My first two games I was pretty nervous, I'm not going to lie to you. I was kind of cautious with the puck and kind of scared to make plays but Toots helped me out, just kind of told me to relax and make plays and don't worry about making mistakes.'

Patric Hornqvist added an insurance goal with 2:21 left and David Legwand scored into an empty net as Nashville won for just the second time in seven games (2-4-1) to jump from 10th to a tie for seventh in the West - one point out of ninth.

``It already feels like the playoffs for us,' Rinne said.

Luongo made 26 saves for the Canucks, who have alternated between a win and a loss for 12th straight games.

Vancouver remains atop the NHL standings, three points ahead of Philadelphia, and four up on Detroit in the West.

``They've been different types of games, I don't think there's really a pattern there,' Luongo said. ``Just because we win or lose I don't think it's because we played good or bad. They just made less mistakes than we did.'

Rinne, starting for the 19th time in 20 games, won a battle between two of the NHL's top statistical stoppers by posting his fifth shutout, though both goalies went through prolonged stretches of inactivity in a tight-checking game.

``As long as we win the game, but obviously it feels good to have a shutout in this building against one of the top teams,' Rinne said.

Rinne made a desperation save to take an empty net away from Daniel Sedin 11 minutes in, rolling over on his back after being faked to the ice and throwing out his glove arm. He also got a break when Mason Raymond rang a backhand off the post late in the second period, and Henrik Sedin shot a power-play rebound through the crease and off the far post 2 minutes after Geoffrion scored.

``Got a little bit lucky,' Rinne said. ``And in the first, one of the Sedins had a wide-open chance and I just made a snow angel, and it happened to hit me.'

Tootoo, who also hit the post on a 2-on-1 late in the second period, helped put them ahead with some good work on the forecheck. It was his first point in six games since missing almost two months in the NHL's substance abuse and behavioral health program.

``I definitely am feeling a lot better,' Tootoo said. ``When you're away from the game for that long it takes a little while to get back in the swing of things. I thought I had one of my better games.'

Hornqvist finally gave Rinne some breathing room by stealing the puck from Dan Hamhuis, walking in alone and deking Luongo for his team-leading 18th goal.

``We're used to those 1-0, 2-0 games,' captain Shea Weber said.

Notes: There was only one referee for the second half of the game after Justin St. Pierre sprained his ankle in the second period. ... Geoffrion's dad, Danny, scored his last NHL goal in Vancouver almost 30 years ago, on April 1, 1981.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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