NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, March 21st
(All times eastern)
Nashville Predators (47-20-6) at Vancouver Canucks (44-23-6), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Two Western Conference teams holding onto slim advantages
in their respective divisions will get together this evening at Vancouver's
General Motors Place, where the Northwest-leading Canucks host a key late-
season showdown with the Nashville Predators.
Nashville remains the frontrunner in the West with 100 points, but the
Predators have a serious challenge on their hands in both the conference and
Central Division races. The club is just one point in front of Detroit in the
Central standings and only two better than Pacific leader Anaheim.
The Predators can also officially seal up a playoff spot tonight. In fact, the
only thing that can stop Nashville from clinching a postseason berth this
evening would be a regulation loss by the Predators combined with a Colorado
victory in Edmonton.
The Preds were able to obtain a much-needed win on Saturday, when they edged
Dallas Stars at home by a 3-2 count. Kimmo Timonen scored twice to lead the
way, while Jordin Tootoo had the other goal for Nashville.
Tootoo will not play in tonight's tilt, however, as the rugged winger was
handed a five-game suspension by the NHL for punching Stars defenseman
Stephane Robidas in the face. He will be eligible to return when the Predators
again host Dallas on March 31.
Tomas Vokoun racked up 34 saves to help Nashville put an end to a two-game
The Predators, who own a strong 21-14-2 road record on the season, play the
first of three straight away games this evening. Nashville will also visit
Northwest Division members Calgary and Edmonton on the trek.
Vancouver is a stellar 8-1-1 so far in March, but the club has still been
unable to pull away from red-hot Minnesota in the Northwest race. The Canucks
own a one-point edge on the Wild for the division's top spot and are six
points behind Nashville in the battle for the No. 1 seed in the West.
The Canucks posted their third victory in a row with Monday's 2-1 road
decision over the dismal Edmonton Oilers. Daniel Sedin paced the offense with
a goal and an assist, while Roberto Luongo turned aside 36-of-37 shots between
Henrik Sedin assisted on both Vancouver goals and Trevor Linden also scored in
The Canucks have posted wins in seven of their last eight games at GM Place
and bring an outstanding 24-9-3 home mark into this contest.
Nashville did earn a 3-2 decision in Vancouver back in October, however, and
has won five of the last seven overall meetings in this series.
03/21 10:50:30 ET