Vancouver Canucks (26-16-9)
Nashville Predators (22-22-7)
Only 5 NHL teams have scored less goals than the Nashville Predators so far this season. So of course they shored up their defense; yesterday, the Preds traded defenseman Kevin Kline to the New York Rangers for defenseman Michael del Zotto.
del Zotto is regarded as an offensive defenseman. He posted 9 goals and 37 points in his rookie season and set career-highs of 10 goals and 41 points a couple of years later. However, his production has slipped since and he has just 2 goals and 11 points in 42 games this season. He joins what is already a formidable defense core in Nashville with Shea Weber, Roman Josi and Seth Jones.
Now, if only they can put the puck in the net.
The Canucks aren’t without their own problems on offense. They’ve only scored 7 goals in their last 6 games, and when you think about it, it’s actually quite amazing they won 3 of those games, including their last 2 games against the Alberta teams. Some people will have you believe that Luongo is the worst goaltender on the planet, but quite simply, the Canucks don’t win against the Calgary Flames on Saturday and Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday without Luongo’s 0.952 save % in those games.
This is the second of three meetings between the Canucks and Predators. The Canucks have won four straight against the Preds dating back to February 22nd last year, including their most recent meeting on December 3rd. Ryan Kesler played Superman that game, as he seems to always do against the Preds, scoring a pair of third period goals to carry the Canucks to a 3-1 win.
The Preds’ Roman Josi has 6 points (2 goals and 4 assists) in his last 4 games.
Henrik Sedin (ribs) still remains day-to-day. Mike Santorelli, Andrew Alberts, Ryan Stanton and Jordan Schroeder are all out. Schroeder, though, will play for the Utica Comets this weekend on a conditioning assignment.