Nilsson stopped 16 of 17 shots in the first period and finished with 33 in the Canucks’ 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.
“I had to get going right away,” Nilsson said. “I felt confident going in the game. I’ve been feeling good the last couple weeks so I’ve been eager to get into a game eventually. I was excited to get the start and get to play.”
Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser scored 1:10 apart in the third period, and Markus Granlund and Jake Virtanen added empty net goals for the Canucks. Brayden Point scored for Tampa Bay, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 24 saves.
Vancouver’s rally was started when Pettersson, who has four goals and three assists in four games, deflected Derrick Pouliot‘s point shot past Vasilevskiy at 11:07 of the third period.
“I thought it was going to hit my stomach and I was going to shoot a rebound,” Pettersson said. “After it hit me I lost the puck and next thing you know it’s a goal. Very lucky, but I’ll take it. Every goal is worth one goal so it doesn’t matter how ugly or nice it is.”
Boeser gave the Canucks the lead with his first of the season at 12:17.
Tampa Bay, the highest scoring team in the NHL last season, has two goals in two games to start the season and is 0-for-8 on the power play, including 0 for 5 on Thursday.
“We need to finish,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “We’re not finishing. We are shooting some pucks at the net, but we’re not going there with a desire to score. That’s what you have to do in this league.”
Notes: Lightning C Tyler Johnson returned to the lineup after missing the opener with an upper-body injury and logged 18:24 of ice time. … Vancouver C Antoine Roussel missed his fourth consecutive game with a concussion. Coach Travis Green said following Thursday’s morning skate Roussel is getting close to return. … Tampa Bay scratched RW Cory Conacher, C Danick Martel and D Slater Koekkoek. The Canucks scratched D Michael Del Zotto, D Alex Biega and LW Brandon Leipsic. … The Canucks had allowed 14 goals in the opening three games of the season.
Canucks: At Florida on Saturday night.
Lightning: Host Columbus on Saturday night.