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Nashville Predators @ Vancouver Canucks Preview: Walk With Elias

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Let’s hope we don’t regret staying up late for this one

Vancouver Canucks v Nashville Predators
Red Panda in his natural habitat
Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Going full Pepper Brooks with this hot take: both teams really want to win this one.

Tonight’s the finale of the Predators’ four-game road trip, and I think I speak for all fans when I say, “Are we home yet?”

The Preds are 1-1-1 so far on the trip, which, record-wise, isn’t horrible. But considering that middle “1” represents one of the ugliest losses in team history, there’s still a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.

Saturday’s 2-1 shootout loss to San Jose didn’t look awful on the scoresheet, but that was mostly thanks to Juuse Saros having his best game of the season. The Sharks defense just wouldn’t let Nashville get anything going on offense, and while San Jose wasn’t exactly a scoring juggernaut either, they generated far more — and far better — scoring chances. (By the way, if you’re not following Bryan on Twitter for his analytical recaps yet, give him a follow at @ProjPatSummit. We apologize in advance for the Dallas Cowboys content.)

It’s not a “must-win” or a “season saver” or anything drastic. A win tonight over Vancouver would simply be a nice “palate cleanser” for the Preds.

The Matchup

Who’s Hot?

  • Filip Forsberg: First, let’s just take a moment to admire this absolute beauty from Saturday...

(Heart eyes emoji)

Our favorite Norse demigod has a three-game goal scoring streak, but overall, he’s been absolute money since returning from injury (5 points total in his past 4 games). He’s been primarily with the JoFA unit since returning, but — and let’s be honest here — Forsberg’s fit in on any line he’s been on this year.

Also, in case you missed it one paragraph ago...

That’s the sugar daddy likes.

  • Vancouver’s “Big 3”: It’s not too far-fetched to throw the Elias Pettersson, J.T. Miller, and Brock Boeser trio into the “best line in hockey” conversation.

The group has been carrying the Canucks’ offense this year. And while Pettersson has the edge on the stat sheet, Miller may be the guy the Preds want to watch carefully tonight. He’s registered at least a point in 9 of his last 10 games.

The trio controls the puck more often than not when they’re on the ice, with all three guys having corsi-for percentages above 67%. So for the Predators, who’ve struggled to keep possession over the past two games, it won’t be an easy matchup.

Who’s Not?

  • The Canucks’ recent ability to score: Hey, remember that whole “the top line is carrying the Canucks’ offense” thing? Well, the rest of the team could use some of that scoring touch.

Simply put, Vancouver’s struggled to hit the back of the net over the past couple of weeks. They’ve been held to just a single goal in four of their six games this month, and one of the other games saw them net two. Sure, they’ve played some good defensive teams (like Anaheim and St. Louis) in that span. But it’s still a jarring change of pace after getting off to one of the best offensive starts in team history last month.

Tonight’s Song to Get You HYYYYPPPPPEEEED

We’ll do a little tribute to Vancouver’s favorite native son, Ryan Reynolds...

How to Watch

Hockey beginneth tonight at 9 P.M. Central. If you’re around Nashville, you can watch the game on Fox Sports Tennessee, or listen in on 102.5 The Game.