With Shea Weber finally starting to find his groove on the attack, the Nashville Predators are focused on getting their defense back on track on their home ice.
The Vancouver Canucks hope their recent slide is behind them after ending their longest losing streak of the season.
The Predators, who have earned a point in all but one home game, look to win for the fifth time in seven games in Nashville on Friday night when they take on the Canucks.
Nashville (8-4-5) suffered a pair of shootout losses at home to open the season, but has gone 4-1-1 in its last six home games on the way to second place in the Central Division behind NHL-best Chicago.
While the Predators rank third in the NHL at 2.00 goals allowed per game, they've taken a step back in giving up nine in their last two. Two-thirds of those came in a 6-5 loss at Colorado on Monday, though, and Nashville has been stingier at home at 1.63 per game.
Pekka Rinne has played a major role in the team's success in Nashville. He's 4-1-3 with a 1.57 goals-against average and three shutouts in eight home starts.
Now he'll turn his attention to the Canucks, who ended a three-game skid with a 4-3 win at Dallas on Thursday. Rinne has a 2.17 GAA in 10 career home starts against Vancouver - including three in the 2011 West semifinals - but is just 3-6-1.
After a six-game winning streak propelled them to the top of the Northwest Division, the Canucks (9-3-4) blew leads in each of three straight losses before rallying behind third-period goals from Jason Garrison and Henrik Sedin against the Stars.
"I think it was important for our team to put together a better two-way effort and I thought we did that tonight,'' Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "Even though we started off on our heels a little bit, I thought the guys responded after that.''
Cory Schneider made 22 saves for the win, but Roberto Luongo could get a chance on Friday with the team playing for the second straight night. Luongo is 4-0-3 with a 1.48 GAA in his seven starts.
He's also fared well on the road in this series, winning five of six starts - including three playoff wins - with a 1.93 GAA in Nashville.
This time, the Canucks will have to find a way to contain Weber, who scored 44 seconds into overtime in a 4-3 win over Detroit on Tuesday to help the Predators snap a two-game skid.
After being held without a point in his first nine games, Nashville's captain has three goals and three assists in his last four.
"He has scored in three straight games here,'' Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "I just think with the bigger guys, it just takes a little longer to get going, getting your hands, getting your feet, getting your wind getting up ice.''
Colin Wilson leads Trotz's club with five goals, and had two goals and three assists to help Nashville finish 2-1-1 against Vancouver last season.
Mike Fisher, who had an assist against the Red Wings, has four goals and two assists in his last three games in the series.
The Canucks, meanwhile, are expected to have Jannik Hansen back in the lineup after he served a one-game suspension for delivering a forearm to the back of the head of Chicago's Marian Hossa on Tuesday. Hansen has seven points after finishing with a career-high 39 last season.
Daniel Sedin has also been a bright spot for Vancouver with two goals and five assists in his last four games. He's done some damage against the Predators as well, with four goals and two assists in the last four meetings.
- Sports & Recreation
- Ice Hockey
- Vancouver Canucks
- Nashville Predators