Nashville Predators (4-4-0)at Vancouver Canucks (5-2-1)
When/where: Tuesday, 7 p.m. Rogers Arena
TV: SN Pacific. Radio: Sportsnet 650
The buzz: Rinse. Repeat. Rejoice. The Canucks took a trio of third-period penalties on Oct. 24 at Nashville and could have run out of gas to conclude a gruelling five-game road trip. However, they killed off those advantages to hang on for a 3-2 victory to conclude a defining journey with a 3-2-0 record. They key was an early goal by improving winger Ilya Mikheyev, who had four shots and seven attempts, plus a pair of early second-period efforts by Phil Di Giuseppe and Nils Hoglander to build a 3-1 cushion. The Predators were held to just five shots in the second period and 18 overall.
The history: The Canucks went 1-0-2 against the Predators last season. They lost 4-3 in a shootout at Rogers Arena on Nov. 5 as Nashville rallied from an early three-goal deficit on the strength of 42 saves by Juuse Saros. It was the fifth time the Canucks had blown a multi-goal lead. Mikheyev, J.T. Miller and Andrei Kuzmenko scored early. On Feb. 21 in Nashville, Kuzmenko scored his second goal with 16 seconds left in regulation, but the Canucks fell 5-4 in a shootout. On March 6 at Rogers Arena, Elias Pettersson scored his 30th goal of the season and had the shootout winner in a 4-3 triumph.
The hope: The Canucks build on an impressive performance Saturday in a tough 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Rangers. They deserved a better fate for showing resolve to rebound from their 2-1 lead turning into a 3-2 third-period deficit before forcing overtime. Pettersson had nine shot attempts and three heavy hits.
The fear: The Canucks lose structure and are spooked by surrendering a pair of 5-on-3 power-play goals to the Rangers. The penalty kill has been much better at 5-on-4 situations by relying on the diamond formation.
The top guns: Pettersson was tied for fourth in NHL scoring heading into Monday play with 13 points (2-11), but just 15 shots found the net through eight games. Quinn Hughes was tied for third among league blueliners with eight points (4-4) and a leading plus-10 rating in 24:36 of average ice time.
The wounded: Canucks: Teddy Blueger (ankle), Guillaume Brisebois (concussion, LTIR). Predators: Cody Glass (lower body), Luke Schenn (lower body, IR), Egor Afanasyev (undisclosed, season-opening IR).
The quote: “Credit to them. I thought they trapped extremely hard. They did to us what we would have liked to do to them. They deserved to win. We didn’t deserve to be in that game.” — Predators coach Andrew Brunette after Oct. 24 loss to Canucks.
The lineup: Mikheyev-Pettersson-Kuzmenko/Di Giuseppe-Miller-Boeser/Joshua-Suter-Garland/Hoglander-Lafferty-Beauvillier/Hughes-Hronek/Cole-Friedman/Soucy-Myers.
The prediction: The Canucks topped NHL Power Rankings on Monday for Canadian teams. They are fifth in goals and goals against and getting contributions aside from the The Fab Four of Pettersson, Hughes, Miller and Brock Boeser. Mikheyev has three points (2-1) in four games since returning from Feb. 2 knee surgery. Canucks prevail 4-2.
FAN FORUM: Do you have a specific question for a player? Pass it along to @provincesports and we’ll get it in a future edition.
Recommended from Editorial
Canucks prospects: Bains hits another level, battle heats up in the Abbotsford crease
Canucks Schedule: ‘(Fans) want to believe in something, we’re trying to make them believe’
Bookmark our website and support our journalism: Don’t miss the news you need to know — add VancouverSun.com and TheProvince.com to your bookmarks and sign up for our newsletters here.
You can also support our journalism by becoming a digital subscriber: For just $14 a month, you can get unlimited, ad-lite access to The Vancouver Sun, The Province, National Post and 13 other Canadian news sites. Support us by subscribing today: The Vancouver Sun | The Province.