Predators vs Canucks preview: Everybody Loves Raymond

VANCOUVER, CANADA - OCTOBER 20: Goalie Roberto Luongo #1 of the Vancouver Canucks stops Jordin Tootoo #22 of the Nashville Predators in close as Kevin Bieksa #3, Keith Ballard #4 and Daniel Sedin #22 of the Canucks look on during the play during the first period in NHL action on October 20, 2011 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

The Nashville Predators have a chance to salvage something significant out of their current 1-3-0 road trip tonight in Vancouver (9:00 p.m. Central on FS-TN), where the Canucks present a daunting challenge. After stumbling out of the gate, Vancouver has looked much more like last year's Presidents Trophy winner in recent weeks, so the Predators will need to bring a solid team effort if they hope to steal a point or two out of this one.

The big news in Vancouver, however, is the return of Mason Raymond to the lineup...

Tale Of The Tape

Nashville (11-9-4) at Vancouver (14-9-1)
NSH Offense vs. VAN Defense VAN Offense vs. NSH Defense
5-on-5
GF/60 SF/60 Shoot % GA/60 SA/60 Save %
NSH Offense 2.2 (22nd) 25.5 (27th) 8.6 (12th) 2.2 (9th) 31.8 (29th) 929 (8th) NSH Defense
VAN Defense 2.3 (10th) 29.0 (12th) 919 (15th) 2.6 (9th) 31.2 (8th) 8.2 (14th) VAN Offense
GA/60 SA/60 Save % GF/60 SF/60 Shoot %
Special Teams
NSH PP vs. VAN PK VAN PP vs. NSH PK
GF/60 SF/60 Shoot % GA/60 SA/60 Save %
NSH 5-on-4 5.2 (19th) 48.0 (15th) 10.9 (19th) 5.6 (15th) 55.1 (26th) 898 (11th) NSH 4-on-5
VAN 4-on-5 4.6 (6th) 55.2 (27th) 917 (4th) 9.1 (1st) 62.4 (2nd) 14.7 (6th) VAN 5-on-4
GA/60 SA/60 Save % GF/60 SF/60 Shoot %

*gulp*

The Canucks are a superior 5-on-5 team, and boast a terrifying power play. Nashville needs to stay out of the box, hope for a low-scoring game, and make the most of the opportunities they get.

Vancouver Canucks

Tonight, the Canucks welcome back Mason Raymond into the lineup, the speedy forward who broke vertebrae in his back on an awkward hit during the Stanley Cup Final against Boston:


It's been a long road back for Raymond, and now he adds even more depth to a stacked lineup. Per Nucks Misconduct, here's what the lines may look like:

FORWARDS

Burrows-H. Sedin-D. Sedin

Higgins-Kesler-Raymond

Booth-Hodgson-Hansen

Volpatti-Malhotra-Lapierre

DEFENCE

Hamhuis-Bieksa

Edler-Salo

Alberts-Ballard

In goal, it's already been announced that Cory Schneider gets the nod tonight, as the continuing drama around Roberto Luongo continues. Can you imagine that? A team signing a goalie to a huge long-term contract, then facing a conundrum when a young goalie also develops and performs well?


Cory Schneider

#35 / Goalie / Vancouver Canucks

6-2

195

Mar 18, 1986



GP MIN W L OTL GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2011 - Cory Schneider 13 715 7 4 0 23 1.93 366 343 .937 2

The Canucks are riding a 5-game winning streak into this game, after having struggled early in the season. That was likely due to the fact that head coach Alain Vignault rested his veterans as much as possible during the preseason, in order to give them a little more recovery time after their long playoff run.


Vancouver Canucks Last 5 Games

Columbus Tue 11/29 W 4 - 1
@ San Jose Sat 11/26 W 3 - 2
@ Phoenix Fri 11/25 W 5 - 0
@ Colorado Wed 11/23 W 3 - 0
Ottawa Sun 11/20 OT - W 2 - 1

Nashville Predators

The only lineup change I'd expect to see for the Preds is whether or not Kyle Wilson gets in the lineup at the expense of Brian McGrattan, since the Canucks don't really play the enforcer game.

UPDATE: The word now is that Sergei Kostitsyn is out for tonight's game, so scratch that idea!

With so many forwards riding cold streaks offensively, might Barry Trotz completely blow up the lines tonight? I'm a big fan of occasionally doing so even under better circumstances, as players can sometimes slip into some bad habits when they get used to a linemate always doing something a particular way. When you're playing alongside new guys, it forces players to remember the basics and focus on the game plan.

No matter what, Nashville will need a strong effort out of the man in goal tonight to avoid a 5-1 thumping like the one they took on their last visit to Vancouver, but that's the least of my worries. As we recall from the playoffs, he knows how to put on a show in Vancouver as well as anyone...


Pekka Rinne

#35 / Goalie / Nashville Predators

6-5

209

Nov 03, 1982



GP MIN W L OTL GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2011 - Pekka Rinne 22 1251 10 8 4 50 2.40 681 631 .927 3
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