Predators Out for Some Quick Revenge Against Vancouver Canucks

VANCOUVER, BC - NOVEMBER 12: Thatcher Demko #35 of the Vancouver Canucks makes a save off the shot of Mikael Granlund #64 of the Nashville Predators during their NHL game at Rogers Arena November 12, 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BC - NOVEMBER 12: Thatcher Demko #35 of the Vancouver Canucks makes a save off the shot of Mikael Granlund #64 of the Nashville Predators during their NHL game at Rogers Arena November 12, 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Tonight the Nashville Predators will see a Vancouver Canucks team that just beat them last week. This time it’s in front of the home crowd.

Winning cures everything, and the Nashville Predators have been searching for that elusive win for five-straight games now. They showed some positive signs in their most recent game on Tuesday, a 2-1 loss to Winnipeg, and now need to put it all together.

Vancouver isn’t playing great hockey either at the moment, with eight  losses in their last ten. One of those two wins was a 5-3 win at home against the Predators just last week. In fact, the Predators are the only team to lose to the Canucks since November 2nd.

When these two teams met last week, it was an evenly-matched affair until the third period rolled around. The Canucks scored four times in the final frame, including two goals on the power play to finish a perfect 3-for-3 for the game with the man advantage.

Expected Predators lineup

Well it appears we’re not going to see Kyle Turris for a second-straight game. He’ll be considered a healthy scratch, and we still don’t have any concrete answers as to why they’re choosing to bench their $6 million player.

Based on the morning skate, we’re going to see the JoFA line together. Again, I’m puzzled by the fact that we can’t see Filip Forsberg and Matt Duchene reunited on the same line. It worked so well to open the season before Forsberg got knocked out for a few games.

More from Predlines

Mathieu Olivier will get his second career NHL start for the Predators after making his debut Tuesday against the Jets. He had one shot on goal and three hits defensively in his 8:03 of ice time. I’ll be interested to see if his ice time increases tonight.

Mikael Granlund and Calle Jarnkrok will be with Duchene on the second line based on the morning skate rushes. Not crazy about this configuration on the second line. I’d much rather see Jarnkrok and Forsberg switched. Not because Jarnkrok is better than Forsberg, but because I like the idea of Forsberg and Duchene together much better.

I’d expect to see Pekka Rinne back in net after getting some rest on Tuesday night. He hasn’t played since Saturday when he gave up four goals on just 14 shots faced and was chased for Juuse Saros. That’s the second time this season that Saros has came in relief of Rinne.

Rinne is a top-notch professional and will bounce back. Tonight’s a night I think Rinne gives us a gem and helps propel the Predators to break this slump.

Canucks aren’t doing any better

I mentioned that the Canucks only have one win in nearly three weeks, and it’s against the Predators. They’re slumping maybe even worse than the Predators are right now. They’re somewhat of a rebuilding project, but they have some nice weapons offensively.

In the recent 5-3 win over the Predators, the Canucks got two goal from Elias Pettersson and two goals from Tanner Pearson. The perfect Vancouver power play was the difference-maker, and I have to think the Predators will be much better in that department this time around.

Rinne was in net for this one and had just one save on four shots fro the Vancouver power play. If there was ever a time for Rinne to get out of his own personal slump, tonight is the night to do it.

It’s pretty baffling how bad the Nashville goaltending has been during this rough stretch of November, but Saros has been playing better in his last two starts just giving up three goals in regulation. Now it’s time to see Rinne turn it around, and I think he will tonight.

What to expect tonight

I’m cautiously optimistic that the Predators are going to build off the positives from Tuesday night’s game and translate that into a solid 60-minute performance. No major lapses and sturdy play defensively. They know they can’t let this thing keep slipping backward in the wrong direction, and it’s a veteran team that knows how to handle these situations.

I don’t like that Turris is missing another game, but I am interested to see Olivier get another opportunity to see if he can keep developing on the NHL level. I’d rather see the Predators stick with a particular lineup combination for a string of games instead of constantly changing things.

It’s also quite interesting to see if Steven Santini can make a long-term home on the third defensive pairing. He made his Predators debut as well on Tuesday, but does have over 100 games of NHL experience with the New Jersey Devils previously.

For me it’s just a matter of time before some things start bouncing the way of the Predators. They’re getting a lot of shots on goal and showing some improvement defensively. It’s the goaltending that has to show the most improvement, which isn’t a normal thing to see from a franchise that has always relied on top-notch play from their goaltenders.

Must Read. Sorting Out the Predators Line Combinations. light

It all comes together tonight for the Predators. I have that feeling that some fortunate things will bounce their way as they’ve been throwing a lot of pucks at the net. We’re going to see a strong game from Rinne and the Predators are going to find that win column again.