NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, December 1st (All times Eastern)
Nashville Predators (11-9-4) at Vancouver Canucks (14-9-1), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - There was some big news for the Canucks coming out of Vancouver prior to tonight's meeting with the Nashville Predators.
The biggest may be the return of forward Mason Raymond from a serious injury suffered during last season's Stanley Cup Finals, but the more interesting could be head coach Alain Vigneault to start Cory Schneider in net for a seventh game in a row over Roberto Luongo.
Schneider will try to back stop Vancouver to a sixth straight victory this evening as he faces off against the struggling Predators.
Schneider initially took over for Luongo when the latter was dealing with an upper-body injury, but the former Vezina Trophy nominee has yet to start since Nov. 13 despite being healthy.
That is because of the roll Schneider has been on. He stopped a career-high 47 shots in Tuesday's 4-1 win over Columbus and has only allowed four goals while posting two shutouts over Vancouver's season high winning streak.
"I feel great. I'm just enjoying playing and not thinking too much about it," Schneider said. "Getting in net is a good feeling, but I'm just happy the team's winning."
Daniel Sedin, Ryan Kesler and Alexandre Burrows each had a goal and an assist while David Booth also scored for the Canucks, who with a victory tonight would be on their longest win streak since a seven-game run from March 3-16.
While Vancouver could be without defenseman Sami Salo tonight after he tweaked a groin injury on Tuesday, Raymond is ready to play for the first time since suffering a fractured vertebrae in game 6 of the Cup Finals.
"I've come a long way," said Raymond on Vancouver's website. "You go from lying in bed for a week not even barely moving and being in a brace for a few months. Did I know that I'd be here playing at this time? I don't know, it might have been Christmas or January, but it's been a long process."
Raymond scored 25 goals and 53 points in 82 games during the 2009-10 season while notching 15 goals and 24 assists in 70 regular-season contests a year ago.
The Predators will be aiming to avoid a sixth defeat in seven games this evening after a 1-0 setback in Calgary on Tuesday. Pekka Rinne made 28 saves for Nashville, but was outdueled by the Flames' Miikka Kiprusoff and his 26 stops.
Nashville began the season 6-3-1 on the road, but has lost three of four on a five-game road trip that ends tonight and has been held to two goals or less in five straight.
"This year's a new group and it's a new identity, but I think we're headed in the right direction," said Nashville head coach Barry Trotz. "Sometimes I forget that we're the youngest team in the league."
These two clubs split four meetings a season ago before the Canucks opened up this year's series with a 5-1 home win on Oct. 20. Sedin had a goal and two assists, while Luongo got the start and made 25 saves.
Rinne was pulled after giving up four goals on 16 shots in the first period. Anders Lindback made 23 saves in relief for a Predators club that has lost five of its last eight in Vancouver.
12/01 10:51:24 ET