Vancouver Canucks gameday: Dancing in the Music City

NASHVILLE, TN - FEBRUARY 07: Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35) reaches for the puck in front of Vancouver Canucks left wing Daniel Sedin (22) during the NHL game between the Nashville Predators and the Vancouver Canucks, held on February 7, 2017, at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - FEBRUARY 07: Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35) reaches for the puck in front of Vancouver Canucks left wing Daniel Sedin (22) during the NHL game between the Nashville Predators and the Vancouver Canucks, held on February 7, 2017, at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

In the Music City, the Vancouver Canucks will look to break out of their slump and cool down the red-hot Nashville Predators. Here’s our official game preview, with projected lineups, predictions and more.

The Vancouver Canucks have quickly made some of us forget how nice their start to this road trip was. It seems like ages ago where they swept Pennsylvania, as the team has now lost its last three games.

None were uglier than Tuesday’s 5-2 defeat to the New York Islanders. Unfortunately for the Canucks, a road game against the Nashville Predators is probably the least appetizing game imaginable right now.

Winners in 10 of their last 12, the Predators are the NHL’s best home team, with a 9-1-1 record. They also haven’t lost a home game to Vancouver since March 31, 2015. So yeah, this is probably the worst possible time for the Canucks to visit the Music City.

But the Canucks have been hot-and-cold throughout the month of November. It’s only fitting if they end the month like that, so we can be optimistic and guess they’re due for a win, right? Here’s our official preview for tonight’s game.

0. 104. Final. 0. 151

Vancouver Canucks


2017-18 Record: 11-10-4

2016-17 Record vs. Predators: 1-1-1

Goals For: 68

Goals Against: 73

Injuries (from Rotoworld): Brandon Sutter (undisclosed, day-to-day), Erik Gudbranson (wrist, day to day), Derek Dorsett (back/neck, day to day)

Who’s on offence

Loui Eriksson has been excellent since returning from injury, with nine points in 13 games on the season. He has three goals and two assists on the road trip thus far, and will be integral in penetrating Nashville’s really deep blue line.

More from The Canuck Way

Brock Boeser will look to get back in the scoring column after the Islanders blanketed him on Tuesday. With his great speed and shot, Boeser could be one of the few Canuck forwards that gives Nashville some problems.

Who’s on defence

For some reason, the Canucks are 0-2-1 since Chris Tanev returned from injury. But don’t let that fool you, he is still this team’s best defenceman. The Predators roll out four extremely effective lines, and their game-breaking speed has all the ability to wear out Vancouver’s defence. It’s on Tanev to minimize the damage these guys do.

Who’s in net

Following a frustrating performance from Anders Nilsson, look for the Canucks to go back with Jacob Markstrom. He’s 6-8-3 on the season, and will look to shrug off a couple of mediocre performances on the weekend.

Projected lineup

Daniel Sedin—Henrik Sedin—Jake Virtanen

Loui Eriksson—Markus Granlund—Thomas Vanek

Brendan Gaunce—Brandon Sutter—Sam Gagner

Alexander Edler—Derrick Pouliot

Ben Hutton—Chris Tanev

Michael Del Zotto—Troy Stecher

*lineups courtesy of the dailyfaceoff

Nashville Predators


2017-18 Record: 15-6-3

2016-17 Record vs. Canucks: 2-1-0

Goals For: 76

Goals Against: 68

Injuries (from Rotoworld):Yannick Weber (lower body, day-to-day), Scott Hartnell (lower body, day-to-day), Ryan Ellis (knee, indefinitely)

Who’s on offence

Filip Forsberg leads the team in scoring with 12 goals and 25 points on the season. Forsberg is quick, has a terrific shot and stickhandles well through the zone. He’s a magician with the puck, and the Canucks are going to have their work cut out for him in trying to stop this guy.

From sniper to play-maker, Vancouver native Ryan Johansen has discovered his full potential in Nashville. He has 17 points in 24 games, and centres this team’s lethal top line that consists of Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson.

Who’s on defence

Jordan isn’t in the NHL yet, so we don’t get to see P.K. Subban go up against his brother yet. But P.K. is sure fun to watch, and is the early Norris Trophy favorite. He’s got 18 points in 24 games thus far, but is also extremely reliable in his own zone.

Who’s in net

Veteran netminder Pekka Rinne is having another great year. He’s 14-3-2 with a 2.29 goals against average and .928 save percentage. Rinne’s riding the hot glove, so the Canucks don’t have an easy test in breaking out of their scoring woes.

Projected lineup

Filip Forsberg — Ryan Johansen  — Calle Jarnkrok

Kevin Fiala— Kyle Turris  — Craig Smith

Pontus Aberg — Nick Bonino — Calle Jarnkrok

Miikka Salomaki—Colton Sissons — Austin Watson

Roman Josi— Ryan Ellis

Mattias Ekholm — Matt Irwin

Pontus Aberg — Yannick Weber

*lineups courtesy of the dailyfaceoff

Keys to victory

Vancouver Canucks

  • The Predators are arguably the NHL’s fastest team. With their quick puck-movement and excellent depth, Vancouver is going to have to go back to the neutral zone trap. It’s the best way to defend against this team.
  • Just throw pucks on Pekka Rinne. With his big 6-foot-5 frame, there’s no reason to wait for the perfect play. Just take shots from any where, and look for the garbage goals.
  • Less defensive miscues and breakdowns. Please.

Nashville Predators

  • Dump-and-chase will work against this Canucks team. They lack the wheels to keep up, and they’re sure sloppy in getting the puck out. Might be smart for head coach Peter Laviolette to change up the system for this game.
  • Move the puck quickly. As the Islanders showed, the Canucks just don’t have the personnel to get back and defend. They give up too many odd man rushes, so make them pay.
  • Let Subban hammer shots from the point, because man those are tough to stop.


Alex Hoegler

151. 2. 104. Final. 3

I’d like to think the Canucks can end the losing skid, but Nashville isn’t the place for it to happen. Nashville is so much better in forward and defensive depth, and they’re just lightyears ahead of Vancouver right now. Canucks keep it close — thanks to Markstrom — but fall short in the Music City.

Tyler Shipley

Final. 5. 151. 2. 104

The “will he play, will he sit” game with Nikolay Goldobin is becoming an unhealthy distraction and a Canucks team already road weary doesn’t have it in the tank to manage the stacked Predators. Give them credit for keeping it close, at least by Oilers standards.

Andrew Nazareth

1. 151. 3. 104. Final

Eriksson keeps on rolling. Goldy gets into the lineup and scores. Markstrom gets the start. Going on a limb here and saying Brendan Gaunce will be goalless.

Next: Canucks: Analyzing Bo Horvat's penalty killing

Scott Rosenhek

3. 151. 2. 104. Final

The Canucks will settle down and play a more structured game compared to the last three. However, Nashville is collectively stronger defensively and offensively. Loui Eriksson and Daniel Sedin get goals, but I don’t think Daniel hits 1000 points. P.K. Subban, Filip Forsberg, Kyle Turris will score for the Preds. The game on Tuesday exposed that this team may not be as good as we think when we have average goaltending. Canucks finish the month of November with a losing record.