Vancouver comes into Nashville after snapping a 3-game losing streak last night against the Dallas Stars, knocking them off after scoring 2 goals in the third and winning 4-3. The Canucks are a team Nashville is very familiar with, being knocked out of the Western Conference Semi-Finals by them two years ago and had quite a few thrilling battles with them last season taking a 2-1-1 season series record against them.
The Sedin Brothers, arguably two of the top players annually in the NHL, lead the way for Vancouver splitting 33 points between them (D. Sedin with 17, H. Sedin with 15). Ryan Kesler, another very familiar name for the Predators, will be playing his 5th game of the season after returning from off-season surgeries. He currently has 4 points in 4 games.
Roberto Luongo is expected to get the start for the Canucks, still in the midst of a rotating goalie controversy between himself and Cory Schneider. Luongo, who has yet to lose in regulation for Vancouver, is 4-0-3 with a 1.63 GAA, .934 Sv%, and a shutout to his name.
On the flip side, the Predators have gone 6-2-2 through the month of February so far, compiling a 3-1-1 record over their last 5 games. After a poor defensive outing in Colorado on Monday, where they ended up losing 6-5 to the Avalanche, the Predators came right back Tuesday night and dispatched the Detroit Red Wings 4-3 in overtime. The good news over the last two games? Nashville has scored 9 goals, more than they’ve scored in the previous 5 games before Monday and Tuesday’s games. The bad news? Nashville has ALLOWED 9 goals in the same span, the exact same amount allowed through the month of February prior to Monday’s game in Colorado.
Nashville’s best known for being a stingy defensive team, so their recent goal allowance for other teams is a bit out of character. Getting back to a strong defensive presence will be key tonight for Nashville if they plan on sending the Canucks packing with a loss in tow.
Currently, the only two players without a point for Nashville are Hal Gill and Brian McGrattan, everyone else on the roster has at least registered a point (including Pekka Rinne). Leading the way for the Predators is breakout sensation Colin Wilson, who has 14 points (5 goals and 9 assists) and leads Nashville statiscally in goals/assists/and points.
Plan on seeing Pekka Rinne in between the pipes tonight, currently coming off his 4-3 overtime win against the Red Wings on Tuesday. Statistically, Rinne is at or near the top of the NHL in all of his statistics. He currently sports a 7-3-4 record with a 1.67 GAA, a .935 Sv%, and a league-best 3 shutouts on the season.
Puck drop is at 7pm this evening in a most-likely sold out Bridgestone Arena. After tonight’s game, Nashville immediately heads to Detroit for a 7pm Saturday showdown with the reeling Red Wings.