Nashville Predators vs. Vancouver Canucks Preview and GDT: Down to the Wire

Each team still has something left to play for as the season winds down.

Five games left.

The 2014-2015 season is officially almost over, but there are still some loose ends to be tied up. Nashville has been assured of a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and they have their sights on their first-ever division banner. The Vancouver Canucks, fresh off a win last night, are hoping to avoid another playoff-less summer. Both will likely come down to the final days of the season, and any loss makes the next game that much bigger.

The Vancouver Canucks

Vancouver's season may come down to this road trip.

The Canucks are currently slotted in the second spot in the Pacific division, but their claim is anything but solidified. The scrappy Calgary Flames are only two points behind (Vancouver has a game in hand), which means Los Angeles is also in the running. Despite the King's loss to Chicago last night, putting more of a damper on the defending champ's playoff hopes, it's still technically possible (though more and more unlikely) to see Vancouver completely miss out on the playoffs.

A week ago, they started a string of seven-straight games against the Central division, and lost two in a row before embarking on a grueling swing through St. Louis, Nashville, Chicago, and Winnipeg. Any of those four cities would be tough enough by themselves, even harder when the slightest misstep could be disastrous.

Luckily for Canucks fans, their team walked out of Scottrade Center last night with a convincing 4-1 win. Unluckily, it mean's they'll be working with tired legs against the recently clinched Preds. If they can at least keep their heads above water, they have a date with the Kings that could be one of the final nails in the other's coffin, then end against conference worst Arizona and Edmonton. First thing's first for them, though.

Eddie Lack could realistically make another appearance in net, considering Jacob Markstrom has only played three times since Ryan Miller went down with an injury in late February. At this point, Miller isn't expected to be back before the playoffs and the crease is unquestionably Lack's. Does that change when (if?) Miller comes back? The Canucks are hoping to find out.

By the way, have you looked at Radim Vrbata 's stat line this season? You probably shouldn't, because it'll just make you made knowing this summer he passed up the Preds, they passed on him, or both. The former Coyote has 31 goals on the campaign, far and away the best on the team. Granted, a lot of that has to with playing on a line with the Sedin twins... they're pretty good. Those three have been powering most of the offense all season. Vrbata, Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin are all 60 point players. No one else on the team has cracked 40.

The Nashville Predators

Nashville should be well rested, since they obviously took Sunday off to revel in victory and bask in this season's success.

Other than that, I got nothing. Anton Volchenkov bulldozed Pekka Rinne the last time these two met in Nashville, so maybe don't do that again?

Reasons to Watch

  • The most stressful thing any of you have to worry about right now is whether or not the Predators are going to win the Central division. In two weeks, that's all going to change. Blood pressure is going to rise, swear words will be common tongue, livers will be destroyed and sleep will be lost. That's best case scenario. Five games left. Just enjoy the them./

And Now, This...

One of my favorite GIFs. Top 3 when it comes to hockey players and water bottles:

In 49 games against the Predators, Daniel has 12 goals, 27 assists and 39 points. Henrik has 8 goals, 37 assists and 45 points in the same amount of games played. So yeah, they destroy Nashville. We may need to call in reinforcements on this one...


Sights and Sounds

Same Pred Time, Same Pred Channel. (And radio station.) Puck drop from Bridgestone Arena at 7:00 p.m. local time.