NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, March 7th
(All times eastern)
Vancouver Canucks (39-23-2) at Nashville Predators (35-24-5), 3 p.m.
(Sports Network) - While the Vancouver Canucks continue on a record sequence
of road games, the Nashville Predators have been enjoying their time at home
as of late.
The playoff-hopeful Predators shoot for a third straight win at Bridgestone
Arena in this afternoon's clash with the nomadic Canucks, who'll be playing
for the 12th consecutive time away from home.
Nashville opened up their post-Olympic break schedule with back-to-back home
victories over Edmonton and Los Angeles, which improved the club to 18-11-2 in
the Music City this season. The Preds couldn't sustain the momentum, however,
in Friday's visit to Detroit, where the resurgent Red Wings skated away with a
5-2 triumph over their Central Division rivals.
Detroit roared out to a 2-0 lead after one period and extended the margin to
four goals on Darren Helm's short-handed tally midway through the second. J.P.
Dumont and Joel Ward scored later on for Nashville to avert a shutout.
"They had a little more jump then us tonight," Predators head coach Barry
Trotz remarked. "We turned the puck over in crucial areas."
Nashville, which currently occupies the No. 7 spot in the Western Conference
standings with 75 points, will attempt to rebound in its final test at
Bridgestone Arena before embarking on a key four-game road trip that begins
Tuesday in Atlanta.
The Canucks, meanwhile, haven't competed as a team in their home venue since
January 27 due to the city of Vancouver's hosting of the recently-completed
Winter Olympics. After playing eight straight on the road prior to the Games,
the Northwest Division co-leaders started a six-game trek with victories over
Columbus and Detroit before falling to the formidable Chicago Blackhawks
Friday in the Windy City.
Chicago erupted for five first-period goals against Canucks netminder Roberto
Luongo en route to a 6-3 decision, which dropped Vancouver to 6-5-0 thus far
on its epic stretch. Luongo, the starting goaltender for Team Canada in last
Sunday's memorable 3-2 overtime victory over the United States in the Gold
Medal Game of the Olympics, was removed after the opening frame after saving
just 9-of-14 shots.
"It's highly disappointing," he said afterward. "[The Blackhawks] carried the
play in the first period. They came out strong and that was pretty much the
game. I felt good, that's the sad part."
Ryan Kesler, a member of the silver medal-winning U.S. squad, had a goal for
Vancouver and has now notched a point in eight consecutive contests. The
talented forward has five goals and four assists over his streak. Teammate
Daniel Sedin has registered an assist in five straight games and has compiled
seven helpers during that span.
The Canucks have prevailed in four of their last five visits to Nashville,
with the lone loss taking place on December 8 of this season. The Predators
also topped Vancouver in British Columbia back on January 11 and have won
three of the past four overall meetings in this series.
03/07 10:29:53 ET