NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, February 17th (All times eastern)
Vancouver Canucks (37-12-9) at Nashville Predators (30-19-8), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Before returning to British Columbia for a sizeable homestand, the Vancouver Canucks will try to post a road win tonight when they visit the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.
The Canucks are 1-1-0 so far on a three-game road trip that is set to end tonight. Following this evening's tilt, Vancouver will head back to the Pacific Northwest and on Saturday they'll begin a six-game homestand with a contest against the Dallas Stars.
Vancouver, which leads the NHL with 83 points, lost the opener of its current road trip in St. Louis, but the Canucks rebounded Tuesday night in Minnesota. Manny Malhotra tallied a goal and an assist to lead the Canucks to the 4-1 win over the Wild.
Jannik Hansen and Mikael Samuelsson also scored for the Canucks, who have an 8-2-0 record over their last 10 games. Ryan Kesler added an empty-net goal while Cory Schneider made 28 saves in the win.
The Canucks are sporting a 17-8-4 road record this season and Vancouver has also posted victories in five of its last six trips to Nashville. Overall, the Canucks have taken two straight, three of four and nine of the last 12 encounters with the Predators.
Vancouver is currently dealing with numerous injury problems to defenseman and the most recent casualty, Andrew Alberts, is expected to miss 6-to-8 weeks with a broken wrist. In addition to Alberts, the Canucks are also missing fellow defensemen Dan Hamhuis (concussion), Keith Ballard (knee), Alex Edler (back) and Lee Sweatt (foot).
The Predators had a two-game winning streak halted their last time out, but Nashville, which is in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race, was at least able to gain a point in that loss.
Nashville dropped a 2-1 overtime decision to San Jose on Tuesday and enters tonight tied with the Sharks in the West standings. In fact, the Predators and Sharks are also tied with Anaheim, Dallas, and Calgary for the conference's last five playoff seeds. The Preds are also six points behind Detroit for the Central Division lead.
The Predators lost Tuesday's home game against the Sharks after Patrick Marleau scored with 1:07 left in OT. A turnover in the neutral zone resulted in Marleau getting the puck and skating into the Nashville zone by himself. From down low, he buried it past Pekka Rinne for the win.
"We didn't manage the puck in traffic at their blue line," Nashville head coach Barry Trotz said of the decisive goal. "There was a lot of room. Marleau came off of the bench and we had 'D' up on the play, probably a little too tight. But it starts with the guy managing the puck at the blue line."
Cody Franson scored on the power play in the first period for the Predators. Rinne was the hard-luck loser, making a whopping 48 stops in defeat.
This evening's tilt marks the third portion of a four-game homestand for Nashville, which has a 13-5-7 record in the Music City this season.
02/17 11:08:06 ET