Game 72: Canucks vs. Predators (3.19.14)
With each passing day the Canucks' hopes of making it to the playoffs gets slightly dimmer and, while Vancouver certainly hasn’t helped their cause by failing to pick up some much needed points along the way, the only thing they can do at this point is continue to keep trying to win the next one. There have been some positives for the Canucks lately even though they haven't been able to string wins together. On their recently completed four-game road trip, which ended with a 4-3 loss in Tampa Bay, they got strong contributions from their newly-formed top line of Henrik Sedin, Alex Burrows and Nicklas Jensen, who combined for seven goals and 14 points.
Vancouver certainly hopes that trio will continue their point-producing ways when they battle a Predators team that has suddenly had difficulties keeping the puck out of their own net. The Predators come into tonight's game having lost back-to-back games, most recently dropping a 5-1 decision to the Oilers last night, while being out-scored by a combined 9-2 during that stretch. This is the third and final meeting between the Canucks and Predators this season. The road teams have been victorious in each of the first two clashes, with Nashville being the most recent victor earning a 2-1 win at Rogers Arena back on January 23. Eddie Lack is expected to get the start for the Canucks. Vancouver may without blue-liner Chris Tanev, who left after suffering a hand injury in the first period of the Canucks' loss in Tampa Bay on Monday.
Puck drop at 7 pm PT - Live on Sportsnet Pacific, The TEAM 1040, or online at teamradio.ca.
Keys to the Game
Burrows doesn't come home. After rediscovering his scoring touch on the road, the Canucks are going to be counting on Burrows to keep up his hot hand even as the team returns to Rogers Arena. Burrows has just two assists in 19 games on home ice this season.
Fix the PK. Early on in the season Vancouver's penalty kill was one of the reasons they were winning games. Lately, it's been costing them. They've allowed four goals on just 10 times shorthanded over their last three games. That can't continue tonight especially against a Preds' power play that has been rolling along quite well all season long.
Show up and compete. There are very few nights where you can accuse a team coached by Barry Trotz of not competing but that certainly seemed like the case last night. If the Preds turn in another performance like they did in Edmonton, you can bet they'll have hell to pay with their head coach so you know they'll be ready from puck drop tonight.
By the Numbers
Win percentage for the Canucks this season without Chris Tanev in the lineup (1-6-0).
Scoring percentage for Alex Burrows in the last four games combined (five goals on 15 shots).
Win percentage for the Predators this season when Shea Weber scores (12-1-2).
Point needed by Shawn Matthias to reach 100 career NHL points.
Goals allowed by the Canucks in their last home game (7-4 loss to NYI).
Consecutive starts, and counting, for Canucks goalie Eddie Lack.