Preview #25: Predators try to start December strong against Canucks
Nashville Predators 11-9-4
Vancouver Canucks 14-9-1
- Can Craig Smith find some offense? (Photo: AP)
The Nashville Predators end their five-game road trip Thursday night in Vancouver when they face the surging Canucks. Cory Schneider has taken the reigns in goal in Vancouver when Roberto Luongo sustained an upper body injury on November 13th. Though Luongo could have started a few games ago, Schneider will be looking to make his seventh straight start on Thursday night.
The Canucks are 8-2-0 in their last 10 games and have won 5 straight. Vancouver is coming off of a 3-1 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets, and Schneider has a 0.79 goals-against average with two shutouts in the last five games.
Schneider has never played against the Nashville Predators.
Nashville has only one win in their four previous road games and wrap up the road trip Thursday night before returning to Bridgestone Arena.
The Predators struggles to find the back of the net continued on Tuesday night when they were shut out 1-0 by Calgary. In four games, the Predators have scored only five times. In the last 10 games, the Predators are 4-4-2.
While the Predators have gone 1-4-0 in their last five games, entering December, there is reason to think the team will turn things around. Nashville is known for playing strong in the month of December, only finishing below .500 once in the last nine seasons. Last year, the Predators posted an 8-5-1 record in December. In 2009, Nashville went 9-4-2 in during the same span.
Thursday night’s game is the second and final time this season the Predators will visit Rogers Arena. On October 20th, the Predators lost 4-1 in a game that saw Pekka Rinne allow three goals in the first period. Matt Halischuk scored the Predators only goal.
The Predators have split their season series in Vancouver for the past six seasons.
Kyle Wilson could make his Predators debut Thursday night. Wilson was recalled by Nashville after Blake Geoffrion was injured on Monday night in Edmonton. Wilson was a scratch on Tuesday. Roman Josi will remain in the lineup for the injured Francis Bouillon.
Mason Raymond will be activated off injured reserve for Thursday’s game. It will be Raymond’s first game since fracturing his vertebrae during the playoffs.
A couple of Canucks are expected to be out of the lineup. TSN reports that Andrew Ebbett is out indefinitely with a foot injury. Sami Salo is also listed as doubtful to play on Thursday with a sore groin.
* Mad props go out to Jacob Butler and Mark Fyke who made the writing of this preview possible.