Alain Vigneault did not want to hear anything from the Nashville Predators about his Vancouver Canucks potentially acting to draw penalties.
Apparently, the Canucks’ coach also did not hear what Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter said after he was sent off for holding at 6:21 of the third period in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinal series Thursday. Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler, who drew the penalty, scored the game-winning goal 67 seconds into the ensuing power play as the Predators were forced to the brink of elimination with a 4-2 defeat.
“I hope that they’re not going to complain about embellishment [Thursday] night,” Vigneault said. “With the number of things that happened out there on the ice, Suter having the audacity to complain after he takes that penalty and just hauls Ryan Kesler down is utterly amazing.”
Suter actually did not complain about the call against him.
“I obviously shouldn’t have done what I did,” Suter said after the game.
His complaint was due to the fact that no penalty was called against Kesler moments earlier for a hit to center Mike Fisher. It was that play for which Suter retaliated.
“He hit [Fisher] right in the face with his stick,” Suter said. “He cut him by the eye. … [Fisher] will probably need stitches.”
Suter did add one final thought, though.
“[Kesler] goes down pretty easy when I grab him on the shoulder,” Suter said. “It’s amazing how that works.”
• Knocked out: Jerred Smithson, one of the Nashville Predators’ key performers this postseason, was forced from the game with what was called an upper body injury.
Television networks airing the game reported that Smithson sustained a broken nose when Kesler hit him during a scrum at the end of the first period. Smithson did not play the rest of the way.
“We had to reshuffle the deck a little bit,” coach Barry Trotz said. “There was probably about 40 different [line] combinations, as it turned out.”
Smithson is considered doubtful for Game 5 Saturday at Vancouver.
• Offensive D: Defensemen scored Vancouver’s first two goals — Christian Ehrhoff got the first and Alexander Edler the second.
They were the second of the postseason for each, but the first two goals by Canucks’ blue liners in the series. That group combined for three points and nine shots.
“We needed contribution from our defense and we got some,” Vigneault said. “I thought they did a good job of finding lanes to get pucks through, and we had good traffic in front of their net. It obviously paid off with a couple goals.”
• Line shuffle: Trotz spent a lot of time Wednesday talking about what the line of Fisher, Sergei Kostitysn and Patric Hornqvist could do to improve their play in the series.
He did not give them a chance to do any of it. Trotz opened the game with Martin Erat at right wing on that line in place of Hornqvist.
Hornqvist was dropped to the fourth line, and Matt Halischuk took Erat’s spot at left wing with David Legwand and Joel Ward.
Fisher, Erat and Kostitsyn were a combined minus-2 with one assist (Erat) and four shots on goal.
• Wilson plays: Colin Wilson was in the lineup for the first time this postseason. He replaced Steve Sullivan, who is unlikely to play in the remainder of the series because of a lower body injury sustained in Game 3.
He did not have a shot and was a minus-1 in 13:34 of ice time.
• Game time set: Game 6 on Monday at Bridgestone Arena will start at 7 p.m. (CST), if necessary, the NHL announced Thursday.
The Predators must win Game 5 Saturday at Vancouver in order to make that game a reality.
• Briefly: Joel Ward set a franchise record for Nashville with his fifth goal of the postseason. Of course, it took him 10 games to get their. The previous record holders, Erat and J-P Dumont had four goals in six and five games, respectively. … Ehrhoff’s goal was the first scored by Vancouver in the first period against Nashville since March 7, 2010. The Canucks won that one 4-2 as well. … The Predators have led or have been tied after one period in their last six games. They have won three and lost three.