Game #42 Preview: Canucks @ Predators

Thomas Drance
April 15 2013 12:52PM


Henrik Sedin celebrated a penalty shot goal the last time these two teams played.
Image uncredited via boston.com.

The Canucks are coming off of two really underwhelming efforts against a pair of Western Conference cellar dwellers in the Calgary Flames and the Colorado Avalanche. Whether motivation is an issue or there's something else at play, it would behoove the Canucks to figure it out in short order. You don't want to struggle down the stretch and back into the postseason when the team's potential first round opponents include the Blues, Sharks and Kings - a veritable murderers row...

This week the Canucks will play four games in six nights, against three pretty good teams and also the Predators, who they play Monday evening. Let's hope they have their games faces on...

Read past the jump.

Broadcast Info:

Puck Drop: 5PM PST

Radio: The Team

Television: Sportsnet Pacific 

Setup:

Life after Ryan Suter has proven difficult for the Nashville Predators, who have overcome an awful lot of marquee departures over the past decade. This season has been a different story as the Predators are lottery bound, and even made a clear rebuilding move at the deadline when they shipped Martin Erat to the Capitals in exchange for talented youngster Filip Forsberg. Forsberg made his NHL debut just last night and will presumably play this evening as well, so that's pretty neat.

The Predators are not a good club and will be playing their second of back-to-back games on Monday. This is a vulnerable, banged up opponent and the Canucks should control proceedings with ease. The Predators still have Pekka Rinne, of course, and he'll start tonight so it's not like victory is assured, but it would be pretty unacceptable if the team were out-chanced in the manner they were on Saturday against Colorado...

The Canucks will be unveiling Ryan Kesler on Derek Roy's wing this evening, and I'll be curious to see how that works out. Jannik Hansen skates with the twins for a second straight game while Vancouver will roll out a third-line of Zack Kassian, Mason Raymond and Andrew Ebbett which, sounds not that good actually. Roberto Luongo will get the start, and I'd expect the defence-pairings to be unchanged from Saturday.

Canucks and Predators games are kind of an unpredictable beast. Sometimes it's a 1-0 finish or a 2-1 finish with the Predators scoring from below the red-line on Luongo. Other times it's a totally crazy 6-5 or 7-4 game with penalty-shots, net-planking, two goalie changes and a whole variety of odd occurences. Bet the under at your own risk!

Numbers Game:

Team Stats Canucks Predators
Record 23.12.6 15.20.8
Goal Differential 12 -20
PP% 13.6% 15.7%
PK% 83.6% 81.1%
Fenwick Tied% 53.3% 46.6%
Corsi% 52.3% 46.5%
PDO 101.7 99.5

Game Day Links:

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Thomas Drance lives in Toronto, eats spicy food and writes about hockey. He is an NHL News Editor at theScore, the ex-managing editor of CanucksArmy.com and an opinionated blowhard to boot. You can follow him on twitter @thomasdrance.
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#1 BrudnySeaby
April 15 2013, 01:55PM
Trash it!
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trashes
+1
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props

These last couple of games are eerily similar to last season's homestretch; which quite frankly, is a bit scary. The Canucks just don't seem mentally there to play these "underwhelming" opponents hard. Over this season, they have however seemed able to turn on their A- game when facing top opponents like the Kings.

Yet the Canucks sleepwalking towards the play-offs worries me. Will they be caught off-guard again? Worse still, will AV again have no back-up plan for the injuries (like he didn't have a back-up plan for Daniel's absence to start the play-offs last year. Kinda mind boggling really!)?

I guess what I'm trying to say is that too many questions surround this team (and the coaching) right now, as they have for most of the season.

But I've also had this weird inkling of a thought all year. I think it's almost a deliberate move by the Canucks to under perform to disastrously on the power play all year. After all, why would they not have fixed it by trying some different looks? It's almost as if they don't want to give their opponents time to figure it out before the play-offs. I think they counted on being good enough to make it to the play-offs without a deadly power play, just to save if for the play-offs. Or is this way of thinking too far fetched?

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