Game #26 Preview: Predators @ Canucks

Can’t blame Carrie. This was probably taken the last time these two teams played.

The Good? Your Vancouver Canucks currently find themselves on a 1-game winning streak! They’re also kicking off a 4-game stretch at home tonight.

The Bad? That win was their first in the last 5 games, as they’ve found themselves mired in a hideous stretch of hockey.

The Ugly? They’re playing hockey against the Nashville Predators for 60-65 minutes tonight.

Read Past the Jump for More on the Game.

Broadcast Info:

Puckdrop: 7 PM PST

Television: TSN

Radio: Team 1040


As anyone who has watched the Vancouver Canucks in recent weeks will be able to tell you, they haven’t been playing a fun brand of hockey. In fact, for large chunks, it has been pretty much unwatchable. On Thursday night, they have found their match.  I guess you could say that they have found the Mia Hamm to their Michael Jordan

These two teams last faced off on February 22nd, and I’m not going to say that the game was necessarily starved of offense or anything, but I will simply point out that Dale Weise was the game’s lone offensive star. Let’s leave it at that.

Here are some fun Nashville Predators facts, to get you pumped up for this one (or drive you to tears): they rank 30th in shots on goal/60 this season, and give up the 5th fewest (a few percentage points less than the Canucks). Sidney Crosby has 45 points, while the Nashville Predators as a team have 58 goals. How jacked are you right now?

Unfortunately for them, they’re also missing their two most dynamic offensive players in Colin Wilson and Patric ‘How am I not a Canuck?!’ Hornqvist. Also out tonight is Paul Gaustad, who has started 22.6% of his shifts in the offensive zone this season; Manny Malhotra scoffs at that. 

Pretty much everything for them begins, and ends, with Pekka Rinne and Shea Weber. The Sedins should expect to see a ton of Weber, his beard, and Roman Josi tonight.

On the Canucks side of things, there are a few interesting notes to pass along. Kevin Bieksa is expected to be back in the lineup, after having sat out 7 of the last 8 games. By all accounts he’s expected to be paired with Andrew Alberts, meaning Ballard and Barker will be able to indulge in some popcorn tonight. This team has sorely missed Bieksa – even with his uneven, at best, performance this year – and he’ll be a huge upgrade on the back-end.

Steve Pinnnnizzzzootttoooo (sp?) has been called up from his conditioning stint, and he should get a crack at a 4th line gig, with the Tom Sestito experience going the way we all expected it to. Having watched quite a few Chicago Wolves games during the lockout, Pinizzotto was a player that routinely caught my eye. He’s a grinder at heart, but he possesses far more skill than an Aaron Volpatti, for example. I’m curious to see how he does. He’ll need to stay out of the trainer’s room first, though.

Roberto Luongo will be starting his 2nd straight game, as he should. He was far and away the best Canuck in Columbus on Tuesday. The Canucks desperately need a goalie to get "hot", and steal some games for them. I’d be surprised if Luongo didn’t go on a nice little run over this homestand. 

The Canucks need a win here to – I can’t believe I’m even saying this.. – give themselves some breathing room in the Northwest Division. They may very well get the two points, but just don’t expect it to come in the form of an exciting, back-and-forth affair.

Finally, I always recommend checking out the opposition’s bloggers, as they’ll likely provide some useful analysis that won’t be tainted with hoserism like the stuff you’ll get from me. But I especially recommend that when going up against the Nashville Predators, as they have some of the very best. My personal favourites are Dirk Hoag, and JR Lind, and Chris Burton.

Numbers Game:

  Predators Canucks
Record 11-9-6 12-7-6
Goal Differential -3 0
PP % 18.1% (14th) 14.7% (24th)
PK % 78.4% (24th) 80.6% (16th)
FO % 50.7% (13th) 48.4% (22nd)
Corsi % 46.0% (26th) 53.8% (2nd)
Fenwick Close % 46.4% (23rd) 53.6% (5th)
Team PDO 101.9 (9th) 100.6 (10th)

Game Day Links: