David Legwand added an empty-net goal with 54.1 seconds left, but it was Nashville's 29th-ranked power play that changed the game. The unit clicked twice in the final four minutes of the second period and 2:01 into the third as the Predators won for just the fourth time in 13 games.
"It was huge, a difference maker," Predators coach Barry Trotz said of the power play. "We've talked about simplifying things, changing things up a little bit, and we've given liberties to our guys to not be as structured, instead of going into set plays and what have you, let's go into more of a concept-type power play. In Game 1 it seemed to work for us.
Alex Burrows, Sami Salo and Ryan Johnson scored on four shots over 5 1/2 minutes early in the second period to give the Canucks a 3-1 lead. But they gave it back with a pair of penalties that the Predators converted late in the period.
Mattias Ohlund delivered a retaliatory slash after Joel Ward's elbow left him bleeding from the forehead, and Erat scored on that power play with four minutes left, tapping a rebound into an empty net after a deflected point shot.
Mats Sundin was then called for cross-checking Jordin Tootoo into the boards, and Arnott tied it with an unscreened one-timer from the top of the left circle that beat goalie Roberto Luongo high over the glove with 11 seconds left.
"A huge goal at the end of the second period," said Trotz, who settled his team with a timeout after the Canucks scored their second and third goals 1:41 apart. "I wanted to get the crowd quieted down and slow things down. When things unravel, slow things down and take some momentum from Vancouver."
The Canucks almost got it back early in the third period, but goalie Pekka Rinne made a sprawling behind-the-back save with the paddle of his stick to take away a goal from Daniel Sedin on the opening shift. Dumont then gave Nashville the lead with Ohlund off again for slashing, pouncing on a loose puck that trickled to the side of the net off a defensemen after Luongo committed to the point shot.
"I just did everything I could and tried to get something in front of the puck," Rinne, who finished with 27 saves, said of his backstroke stop. "It's a huge win. We've had meetings after the first half, and the rest of the season after the All-Star break is a new beginning for us, a new start. We need a fresh start, we need to forget the last month and a half and just stick together."
Luongo finished with 33 saves for the Canucks, who have lost seven straight (0-5-2), falling to a four-way tie with Minnesota, Edmonton and Columbus for the final two playoff spots in the Western Conference.
"No one in that dressing room is taking this lightly," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "We understand everyone's frustration and disappointment, but we are going to stick together to get back on right track. Our guys are not indifferent, and they are taking this personally. They want to succeed, and sometimes wanting too much can hurt you as much as not wanting it enough."
Nashville, tied for 13th in the Western Conference, is six points back despite playing two fewer games.
"It's still a long road, but it's a huge boost for us," Arnott said.
Ward opened the scoring with 1:10 left in the first period, fighting off Kevin Bieksa's check at the top of the Canucks crease and knocking the puck under a sprawled Luongo as he was falling.
Outshot 12-4 in the first period, the Canucks scored on their first, second and fourth shots of the second. Burrows fired a 2-on-1 shot over Rinne's shoulder, Salo scored a 4-on-3 power play, and Johnson had a breakaway goal.
Nashville lost rookie D Alexander Sulzer, playing his second NHL game, to a big hit from former Predators tough guy Darcy Hordichuk early in the first period. Sulzer appeared to favor his left shoulder as he left the ice and didn't return. ... Canucks forward Pavol Demitra missed a second game with a groin injury but is expected back Saturday against Minnesota. ... The Predators had lost the first three games of this season's four-game series with Vancouver by a combined score of 9-2. They hadn't beaten the Canucks in six games.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: Rogers Arena Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Referees: Brian Pochmara, Kevin Pollock Linesmen: Mike Cvik, Darren Gibbs
Attendance: 18,630 (99.0% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Joel Ward (6)
Assists: Jordin Tootoo, Vernon Fiddler
Alex Burrows (11)
Sami Salo (3)
(Power Play) Assists: Kevin Bieksa, Henrik Sedin
Ryan Johnson (2)
Martin Erat (12)
(Power Play) Assists: Ryan Jones, Dan Hamhuis
Jason Arnott (16)
(Power Play) Assist: Ryan Suter
J.P. Dumont (9)
(Power Play) Assists: Dan Hamhuis, Martin Erat
David Legwand (11)
(Empty Net) Assists: Radek Bonk, Ryan Suter