By Amanda DiPaolo
This season, the Nashville Predators have played the Vancouver Canucks twice. The first game was right before the All-Star Weekend. The teams went into the third period with no score. Nashville took an early lead in the final frame only to lose it by the end of regulation 2-1.
On February 17th, the Canucks made their first visit to Music City. Despite being called for five minor penalties, in comparison to Vancouver’s two, Nashville came out on top 3-1.
Tonight, the teams clash for the third of four meetings this regular season. Lately, the Predators have struggled. With a 4-4-2 record in their last 10 starts, despite the injuries Nashville needs to take their level of play up a notch if they are going to qualify for the postseason.
For Shane O’Brien, the one-time Canuck, it is easy to get motivated for the game. “Anytime you play your former team you obviously have a little bit of a chip on your shoulder,” he said.
Chip on his shoulder or not, O’Brien knows what the Predators are trying to accomplish. “It isn’t about me, its about getting as many points as you can and getting into the playoffs. It’s going to come down to the last couple of games. It’s not going to be easy and we know that.”
Right now, the Predators are out of the top 8 in the Western Conference and if the playoffs started today, their season would be over. A win tonight in Vancouver would go a long way towards getting back in playoff mode down the stretch.
O’Brien sees the stretch as the reason why Nashville traded for him. “I’m just trying to play hard every night. I think a big reason they picked me up at the start of the year was for this time and going into the playoffs. I have some playoff experience. These are fun games to play in and this is the best time of the year. I’m just trying to be as good as I can every night.”
The Predators take on the Canucks tonight at Rogers Arena. Game time is 9pm CT. The Predators still have games in Calgary and San Jose before returning to Bridgestone Arena.
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