The Nashville Predators began their week with a 4-1 win over the Dallas Stars on Monday night.
Nashville starts a four-game road trip this week and will make their first two stops in Vancouver and Calgary on back-to-back nights on Thursday and Friday.
The Predators lost their only previous matchup against the Canucks on December 3rd, by a score of 3-1. Nashville and Calgary met for the first time just a week ago: a 4-2 win by the Predators.
Winners of three out of four games, the Predators have begun to make up ground in the playoff race with just 31 games remaining in the regular season. The three big questions looming for this week:
- With two games in two nights later this week, it’s likely both Carter Hutton and Devan Dubnyk will start in net for Nashville. Which goalie faces the Canucks (the stronger team and a club Nashville is chasing for the final wild card spot)? Does Dubnyk get another chance at being the No. 1 netminder?
- After Matt Hendricks was traded for Devan Dubnyk last week, the Predators 13th forward spot opened up and the team has been using the minimum of 12 forwards the last three games. Will Nashville make a call-up from Milwaukee and put a new forward in the lineup for either of their two upcoming games? (My speculation is that Taylor Beck has a good shot at replacing Rich Clune in the lineup).
- Will the Predators red-hot offense continue? (Nashville has now registered 16 goals in their last four games–one of their highest goal totals over that same span, all season).
A regulation win over the Canucks on Thursday puts the Predators six points out of the last wild card spot.
**Update 8:00 am: Head coach Barry Trotz confirms that the Predators will call-up forward Taylor Beck from Milwaukee this week.**