By Amanda DiPaolo
Nashville Predators 27-16-6
Vancouver Canucks 30-10-9
Nashville ends its six-game road trip with a visit in Vancouver to face the Canucks for the first of four meetings between the two clubs this season. The Canucks are first in the Western Conference and second in the NHL in points.
Nashville lost on Monday night in Calgary by a 3-1 score. It is the second time that the Flames beat the Predators this season. Those two teams meet again on February 1, the day games start up around the League after the All-Star break.
Vancouver also last played on Monday night, beating Dallas 7-1. Dallas leads their division but the Stars were no match for the Canucks.
The key to victory on Wednesday night may come down to which team can put more shots on goal. The Predators and Vancouver are the two best teams in the League when they out shoot the opposition with 14-5-3 and 17-6-5 records respectively.
Nashville will need to come out strong and score early to beat the Canucks. The Predators are 18-2-4 when scoring first. When they enter the final frame leading the game Nashville’s record is 20-1-3.
In the last five years, the Predators have split their two games at Rogers Arena posting a 5-5-0 record since 2005.
The game also marks the return of Shane O’Brien to Vancouver. The joking at O’Brien’s expense has already begun in Vancouver. It will also be the first time Nashville faces their former top-four defenseman Dan Hamhuis since he signed with the Canucks as a free agent in the summer.
January ends with Nashville only playing three games at home to start 2011. Nashville is 9-3-0 for the month going into Wednesday night’s game. A win in Vancouver would be just the sixth time that Nashville has recorded 10 or more wins in a single month.
When play resumes on February 1st, Nashville will play 21-of-32 games on home ice to end the regular season. Seven of the 11 games left to be played on the road are one-game trips.
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