After winning just 1 of 3 games in their recently-concluded road trip, the Canucks head back to Rogers Arena for a 4-game home stand. They’ll look to build on their shootout win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday and improve on their rather average 6-3-3 home record.
Like the Canucks, the Nashville Predators are in a dogfight to make the playoffs. They currently sit in 10th place in the Western Conference, but are among a group of 8 teams (including the Canucks) that are within 2 points of each other. In fact, after the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks, only 8 points separate 3rd place and 15th place in the wild, wild West.
Perhaps none of this should be a surprise to the Preds. While they managed to retain Shea Weber – thanks to Paul Holmgren, it only took them $110 million to do it – Weber himself hasn’t been as good this season as he has been in the past. Losing Ryan Suter does that. They’re also relying more on second-year players like Roman Josi and Gabriel Bourque.
Now, if you think this matters to Preds fans, or if you think the team would suffer in the box office because of the lockout, you’re wrong. The Predators have sold out all 12 home games so far this season and they expect to sell out the remaining 12 home games the rest of the way.
The Canucks and the Preds have already met once this season. Led by Roberto Luongo and his 23 saves, the Canucks won a 1-0 decision in Nashville back on February 22nd. Dale Weise, who scored the game’s lone goal halfway through the third period, was the unlikely hero.
25 GP, 12-7-6, 30 points (1st in Northwest Division, 3rd in Western Conference)
Jason Garrison has points in consecutive games (1G-1A-2P). He’s also been logging some additional ice-time – in the 23 to 25-minute range – while Kevin Bieksa remains injured (and Andrew Alberts remains in the lineup to play his whopping 10 minutes per game).
After a 5-game stretch during which he allowed an average of 4 goals per game, Pekka Rinne has 2 shutouts in his last 3 games.
Despite his decent play and his beauty of a spinorama move in Tuesday’s shootout, Mason Raymond only has 4 points (2G-2A) in his last 13 games.
- Maple Ridge’s Vic Bartley was called up by the Predators over the weekend and will play his first-ever NHL game in Vancouver. (Maple Ridge News)
- Known as the guy who cost the Canucks Revelstoke native, Aaron Volpatti, Steve Pinizzotto finished his conditioning stint with the Chicago Wolves yesterday, and is expected to join the Canucks today. (Vancouver Sun)