The Nashville Predators (41-25-10) are looking for their seventh win in a row tonight at the Bridgestone Arena when the President's Trophy leading Vancouver Canucks (50-17-9) visit Music City.
Vancouver is 11-2 in March and the Preds are 9-2-2. The Predators are 22-8-7 at home this season and are 8-1 in their last home games. The Canucks play as well on the road as they do at home with 25 wins at home and 25 on the road.
The Canucks and Predators have met three times this season with the Preds winning twice.
Last month in Nashville on February 17, the Predators played one of their best games of the year, besting the Canucks 3-1. On March 3, in Vancouver, Pekka Rinne shut out Vancouver 3-0. The Preds' lone loss came on the road on January 22 when two third period Canuck goals sunk the Preds 2-1.
The Predators will continue to ride Pekka Rinne (30-20-8, 2.10, .929) who has started 36 of the Preds' last 40 games. He has held opponents to two goals or less in 24 of those starts. Since New Years Eve, he has 22 wins, a 1.94 goals against average, and a .936 save percentage.
Cory Schneider (15-3-2, 2.16, .930) won against Columbus on Sunday so it is likely that Roberto Luongo (35-14-7, 2.18, .927) will be in net for the Canucks tonight.
The two team are the top defensive teams in the league with Vancouver allowing opponents 2.24 goals per game while the Preds are at 2.30. A sideline to that statistic is the Jennings Trophy (goes to the goaltenders on the team allowing the fewest goals) race where Vancouver has allowed 170 goals and the Predators have allowed 175. Boston lies between the two at 173.
After tonight's game, the Predators will travel to Colorado for a Thursday game with the Avalanche before returning home for a rare Saturday afternoon match against Detroit.
Other previews come from Amanda DiPaolo, The Tennessean, HNIN, The Preditorial, Sam Page, and Fang Faction.
Previews from Vancouver can be found at The Province, Vancouver Sun, Nucks Misconduct, Kurtenblog, The Canucks Way, and Canucks Hockey Blog.
Slam Sports promises that tonight's game will be a smoozefest.
Here are the game notes from NHL Media Services.
Today's RLD Hockey Radio produced by Ryan Porth will feature an exclusive interview with Shane O'Brien and a live visit with Dan Rosen of NHL.com. Be sure and join us at noon Central on Blog Talk Radio or anytime on podcast.
In Preds Nation...
The Predators recent success is due to contributions throughout the line up according to Amanda DiPaolo.
David Boclair points out that Patric Hornqvist has remained productive regardless of the situation that he is place in.
Mike Fisher's leadership has been his key contribution with the Preds.
The Province says that Shea Weber is the key to the Predators' future. They also have a feature on Pekka Rinne's run at the Vezina Trophy. In a third post, they have Shane O'Brien thinking a matchup with the Canucks in the playoffs would be interesting.
Big news yesterday was J.P. Dumont accidentally hitting Barry Trotz in the head with a stick at practice.
Sam Page has one of the most interesting posts that I've seen in a while covering a wide area of ground.
HNIN looks at the role Mike Fisher has played in the rebirth of David Legwand.
Jay Levin sets the Western Conference playoff picture at Predators.com.
David Kalan at NHL.com has a feature story on the Predators being a force in the Western Conference.
Patten Fuqua has the pre-game smack talk for Vancouver.
Paul McCann lays out the final two weeks of the season for the Predators.
Fans have the chance to vote on the top 10 Preds moments of the year.
In the NBJ Brand Brackets, the Preds are taking on BMI, and the Bridgestone Arena is up against Hiller Plumbing and is getting drilled. Go to the links and vote early and vote often.
Around the NHL...
Is Dan Hamhuis thinking about hanging them up after his fourth concussion?
Bob McKenzie gives insight into Sidney Crosby's return.
Jimmy Howard may return sooner than expected. Rumor on NHL Home Ice is that we will see him on Saturday in Nashville?
Great mix of topics from Adrian Dater. Don't click if you aren't a fan of his writing.
Ryan Miller was the NHL first star of the week, followed by Cory Perry and Henrik Lundqvist.
If the Flames win out and get to 97 points, they still lose the tiebreaker with every other team.
Bob Wage makes it sound like the only thing to play for in Carolina is jobs for next year.
T.J Oshie is in hot water in St. Louis for an unexcused absence. No one is saying much about it.
Steve Lapore takes on the "loser point" at Versus. I can never get enough negative stuff about the three point games. Steve also grades Kovalchuk's first year in new Jersey.
Mayor's Manor talked to Dustin Penner about his return to Edmonton tonight.
After anointing Pekka Rinne as the best goalie in the west on Sunday, Kevin Allen does not list him in his list of Hart Trophy candidates.
Joe Yerdon extracts the "Quote of the Year" from the Columbus Dispatch. Interesting perspective by Scott Arniel.
John McCain is trying to turn up the heat on the Goldwater Institute and is having little success in helping with the Coyote's sale.
The head of marketing for the Coyotes "resigned." I can't imagine a more unfulfilling job under the circumstance.
Vintage Leaf Memories looks at Matt Sundin and whether he is hall of fame worthy.
Big news with Dobber Hockey making sever acquisitions and changes. Go here to get the lowdown.
Our friend Michael Langlois has a best of post with links to some of his more popular feature stories.
Odds and Ends...
If you have a Droid X, here is what the update to Gingerbread update will look like.
Less that one half of one percent (20,000) of Twitter users produce 50% of the Tweets. I wonder how many Tweets you have to have to fall into that category.
Not that I'll have time to watch but MLB Extra Innings will run a free preview from March 31-April 10.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass