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Game 60: Vancouver @ Nashville – A Whale of a Task


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Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

The last meeting between the Canucks and the Predators ended in a six round shootout where Edler bested Pekka Rinne for the Vancouver win.

Expect no different tonight as Vancouver comes back to Bridgestone Arena for what should be a goaltender’s duel. Mike Fisher will return to the lineup tonight and Chris Mueller has been called up from Milwaukee for tonight’s game.

Game time is 7 P.M. Central and tickets are still available.

This Year’s Series: 1-1-1 Home (0-0-1) Away (1-1-0)

Looking at the Canucks: An ever-dangerous team, the Canucks have been impressive since the beginning of February going 7-0-2. What is even more impressive is the ability of the Canucks to seemlessly switch out goaltenders and still win games. Schneider and Luongo are a great one-two punch in net.

Vancouver is paced by two very prolific twins: Henrik and Daniel Sedin who have 64 and 61 points respectively. Maybe even more deadly is the ever-present Alex Burrows who leads the Canucks with 6 GWG on the season. Burrows has history with the Predators and Alex is just the kind of player that can capitalize when you least expect it.

Looking at the Predators: The Predators were up to the task of getting two points in Dallas, a venue that has not been a place of celebration for Nashville since forever. Nashville would hold on to win 3-2 where Hal Gill took an ill-timed penalty in the last two minutes and Predator nation collectively held it’s breath till the final buzzer.

Mike Fisher is supposed to suit up tonight, but Hornqvist and McGrattan are still on IR. Fisher will provide the offensive output and defensive capabilities that should stifle the high-octane offense of the Canucks.

For the Canucks to win: Try to take the crowd out early. Vancouver is not well-loved in Nashville since they knocked the Predators out of the second round last year…on the Predators home-ice. The Predators have done a decent job of keeping the top-line of Vancouver under control but a player like Kesler is a difference maker on the PP and the 2nd line.

Whether it’s Luongo or Schneider, the golatending needs to maintain a solid performance. The Predators are 10th in the league in scoring and 2nd on the PP. It’ll be up to the team’s best penalty-killer to step up to the task.

For the Predators to win: Play solid defense from Rinne out. All too many times the Predators play a solid 40-50 minutes but against a team like Vancouver, the Predators will need to play the full 60 minutes otherwise it’ll be a very long night.

Having Hal Gill on the blueline to help the defensive core is a huge plus. The bigger Vancouver forwards will have their hands full trying to knock Gill off the puck in the corners. Gill also takes up some of the slack on minutes so Weber and Suter are not taxed into exhaustion playing almost 30 minutes a game.

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