Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Vancouver Returns to Music City With Much On the Line

Tonight's game between the Vancouver Canucks and the Nashville Predators is one that Predator fans have had marked on their calendar since the schedule was released last summer. It marks the Nucks first visit to the Bridgestone Arena since they clinched their second round series with the Predators in a 2-1 win in game six on May 9. 2011.

Even the most optimistic member of the Predator faithful probably did not project that the Predators could move to 70 points with a win and have the second best record in the Western Conference and the third best in the NHL.

Probably even more surprising is that Vancouver and Nashville would also be neck and neck in the battle for the best power play in the league with the Canuck converting 22.3% of the time and the Predators at 22.2%.

There will be plenty of individual battles but none will be bigger than match between two of the NHL's best netminders. The Preds' Pekka Rinne (30-11-4, 2.37, .925) has won eleven games in a row and has won 20 of his last 22 decisions. Roberto Luongo (21-10-5, 2.39, .920) should be in net to the Canucks and is 5-2-3 in his last ten games but is always capable of rising to the occasion in big match-ups.

Vancouver has more firepower in their lineup, being led by Henrik (11g, 44a) and Daniel Sedin (22g, 30a) and are averaging 3.14 goals per game. The Predators are tied for 12th at 2,76 goals per game but have averaged 3.12 in their last 17 games when they have gone 14-3-0.

It won't get any easier after tonight's game for the Predators. They will play the surprising Senators in Ottawa on Thursday, then play the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins on Saturday, before returning to the Bridgestone to take on the Blackhawks next Tuesday.

For other Predators previews check out Ryan Porth, Amanda DiPaolo, Robby Stanley, and Predators.com.

The NHL Game Notes can be found here.

For a Vancouver perspective go to any of the following fine sites...


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