All the stats and a look ahead to tonight's villains & heroes as the Predators and Canucks tangle.
|Vancouver Canucks||Nashville Predators|
|5-on-5 Save %||.932||6th||.943||1st|
|# of PP's/Gm||4.56||4th||3.47||26th|
|# of PK's/Gm||4.13||19th||3.53||5th|
Vancouver is a very well-rounded team, with perhaps their weak spot being the penalty kill.
Be ready for the next hat trick at Bridgestone, and get yourself a new Nashville Predators hat!
Just as we've noted the times that the Predators have faced a well-rested opponent after having played the night before, it's Nashville's turn to be on the positive end of that issue, as the Canucks roll in after defeating Dallas last night 4-3.
The big news with the Canucks these days has been the return of our old pal Ryan Kesler to the lineup, after having hip surgery during the offseason. In four games so far, Kesler has a goal and three assists, and is already averaging over 20 minutes a game. Where would you rank Kesler on a Preds fan Most Hated Player list these days?
|2012 - Ryan Kesler||4||1||3||4||-3||2||1||0||0||13||7.7|
Since Corey Schneider played last night, that means we're likely to see Vancouver's other #1 goaltender face the Predators:
|2012 - Roberto Luongo||8||478||4||0||3||13||1.63||198||185||.934||1|
In 28 games against Nashville all-time, Luongo is 12-12-3 with a .922 save percentage, 2.26 GAA and two shutouts.
Throughout the day, keep an eye on our SB Nation fellows at Nucks Misconduct for more from their side. I'll have a "3 Questions" post from them later on.
With the Predators, it looks like the offensive attack is starting to come to life, thanks in part to Patric Hornqvist's return to duty. In two games, he's directed 16 shots at net - that's more than Sergei Kostitsyn has taken all season! While it's easy to say that guys should work the top of the crease, it's a devilishly difficult thing to do in practice. There is a great deal of timing and "feel" involved in knowing when and where to pick your spots, and tipping shots is one of the hardest skills to develop in all of hockey.
Of course, the return of Hornqvist adds to the decision-making that Barry Trotz has to make each night. So far, the odd man out has been Hal Gill, as the Predators have returned to dressing six defense and Jonathon Blum has earned steady work.
Up front, the hot hand for the Preds might just be the guy that Nucks Misconduct was making fun of this morning, Mike Fisher. In 19 career games against the Canucks, Fish has 10 goals and 4 assists, and after a slow start offensively, he has chipped in two goals and assist in his last four:
|2012 - Mike Fisher||17||3||4||7||+2||6||1||0||0||36||8.3|
In the past, we've seen Fisher matched up against Kesler head-to-head, so keep an eye out to see if that develops tonight as well.
Check back later today for our 3 Questions with Nucks Misconduct, and the Game Thread to post shortly before game time (7:00 p.m.).