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Predators hand Canucks fifth straight loss in shutout

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tomas Vokoun and Nashville Predators
made it look easy against the slumping Vancouver Canucks.

Vokoun made 31 saves for his third shutout of the season and Dan
Hamhuis and Scott Hartnell each had a goal and an assist in the
Predators' 5-0 victory over Vancouver on Tuesday night.

"It's a big win for us," Vokoun said. "Our goal was to put
more space between them and us in the standings."

Nashville has earned at least one point in the tight Western
Conference standings in six straight games, including three
victories over Vancouver in a 12-day span. The Canucks have lost
five consecutive games.

"We executed really well and took parts of their game away and
established parts of our game tonight," Nashville coach Barry
Trotz said. "You need a lot of different parts working together if
you want to be successful."

Jordin Tootoo, Scottie Upshall, and Jerred Smithson also scored
for the Predators, and Steve Sullivan had three assists. Nashville
is four points ahead of Colorado for the fourth playoff spot in the
Western Conference and nine points behind first-place Detroit in
the Central Division.

"We had our legs tonight, everyone was flying, and Vokoun was
steady as a rock again for us," Sullivan said. "We're still
gunning for Detroit, and we have plenty of games left."

Hamhuis scored the game's first goal at 3:05 of the opening
period.

From the right faceoff circle, Adam Hall sent a pass to Hamhuis
at the left point. Hamhuis ripped a slap shot by goalie Mika
Noronen. The goal was Hamhuis' third of the season, but first since
Nov. 23.

Noronen made his first appearance in goal for the Canucks after
being acquired from the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday.

"We had hoped Noronen would come in and have a good game, and
he didn't," Vancouver coach Marc Crawford said. "We're not
performing at our top level, and we have to eliminate as much
negative thought as possible."

Tootoo put the Predators ahead 2-0 at 8:28 of the second period.

Vancouver's best scoring opportunity came with 46 seconds
remaining in the second period. With the Canucks on the power play,
Vokoun moved across his crease to kick away Anson Carter's shot.

The Canucks were 0-for-8 on the power play Tuesday night, and
are 1-for-28 with the man-advantage on their current losing streak.

"We had chances, it is just a matter of finishing them and
getting those key goals," Vancouver captain Markus Naslund said.
"It's difficult, the pucks are not going in, and as an offensive
player, the only thing you can do is keep pushing."<
^Notes: The victory was Nashville's 38th of the season, tying the
franchise record set in 2003-04 ... Canucks twins Daniel and Henrik
Sedin each had their five-game point streaks snapped. ... Brendan
Witt had an assist, his first point as a Predator.