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Nashville Predators @ Vancouver Canucks Preview: In Pekka We Trust

The team-level stats and assorted updates ahead of tonight's late-night (9:00 p.m. Central) start between the Predators and Canucks.

Derek Leung

The Stats

Nashville Predators Vancouver Canucks
Record 11-9-6 19th 12-7-6 10th
GF/Game 2.15 30th 2.60 18th
GA/Game 2.15 3rd 2.52 11th
5-on-5 SF/60 23.3 30th 28.2 17th
5-on-5 SA/60 26.0 5th 26.8 6th
Fenwick Close 46.25 24th 53.57 6th
5-on-5 Save % .931 4th .919 14th
5-on-4 GF/60 5.7 17th 4.9 21st
# of PP's/Gm 3.19 26th 3.80 10th
4-on-5 GA/60 8.0 27th 7.4 22nd
# of PK's/Gm 3.38 6th 3.72 17th

The Canucks are a well-rounded team, without any glaring holes, but no single area is exactly tearing up the league, either. That's pretty impressive considering the injury issues Vancouver has had to deal with this season, and speaks to the potential that team has if they can get healthy or perhaps add a piece for a playoff run.

In their only previous meeting this season, the Canucks beat the Preds 1-0 in Nashville back on February 22nd.

After this road trip is over, the Preds play 12 of their final 18 games at home. Tickets at Bridgestone Arena are growing scarce, so make sure you take the OTF Discount!

Vancouver Canucks

The Canucks are used to running away with the Northwest Division each year, but this time they've had difficulty separating themselves from the pack. A decent part of that can be explained by the absence of Ryan Kesler, who has only played seven games this season. He missed the opening weeks while recovering from off-season hip surgery, but then broke his foot after returning to action.

The other big story in Vancouver, of course, is the goaltending drama, which currently shows Roberto Luongo as having reasserted his dominance in net, quieting the talk of trading him (and his hefty contract) so the Canucks can turn over the keys to young Corey Schneider.

Roberto Luongo

#1 / Goalie / Vancouver Canucks



Apr 04, 1979

2012 - Roberto Luongo 12 722 6 2 3 25 2.08 300 275 .917 2

You can tell how tense things are in B.C., given the reaction to a recent win over Columbus which ended a four-game losing streak:

All hail Roberto Luongo for "saving the season." Frustrations were boiling hotter than they had all season, and I'm sure both Luongo and Alain Vigneault are breathing a little easier tonight. After stopping Letestu's final shot, Luongo even had a sort of smile on his face that read, "Don't worry guys, I got this."

--- Nucks Misconduct

Make sure to head over to Nucks Misconduct to check out their preview for line combinations and more.

Nashville Predators

The Preds are going through a rough patch with injuries, having lost a regular forward in each of their last three games. The latest victim was Paul Gaustad, so Nashville has called up Chris Mueller from Milwaukee to fill the gap at center. Where he'll fit in the lineup is a bit of a guess, as Josh Cooper gives us at least a glimpse of what to expect tonight:

With Spaling and Smith both getting work at center, perhaps Mueller will watch from the press box tonight, but stand ready if needed for the rest of the current road trip.

It looks like Pekka Rinne will get the start, and in this interview with Ryan Porth at Smashville 24/7, he isn't worried about the extensive workload he's handling this season:

Do the fewer number of games make Rinne more capable to get through the season without being affected physically? Are the Predators forced to start him more than they'd like because of their place in the standings? Probably a combination of both.

"It is a different kind of year; you notice the schedule because there's not much time to practice. But I feel good physically," Rinne said. "You just try to save as much energy as you can and bring everything you've got to the game."

Pekka Rinne

#35 / Goalie / Nashville Predators



Nov 03, 1982

2012 - Pekka Rinne 24 1410 10 8 4 47 2.00 618 571 .924 5

So plan for a late night of hockey watching, and stay tuned for a special guest star posting tonight's game recap...