The Vancouver Canucks sit atop the Western Conference heading into the All-Star break thanks in part to their impressive play at home.
They’ll look for that success to continue against the Nashville Predators.
The Canucks will try to record at least one point in a 13th consecutive home game Wednesday night when they meet the Predators for the first time this season.
Vancouver (30-10-9) snapped its four-game losing streak with a 7-1 victory over Dallas on Monday night, and after seeing his team lose three straight after regulation, coach Alain Vigneault was pleased with the comfortable win.
“We’ve had a lot of really good efforts lately, we’ve been in a lot of tight games where we’ve had as good an effort defensively and as many chances offensively,” Vigneault said.
“We’ve been playing some good hockey obviously. The wins might have been a little bit harder to come by, but our guys have been competing real hard.”
Seven different players scored for Vancouver as it improved to 16-3-5 on home ice and recorded a point in a 12th straight home contest - an 8-0-4 stretch that’s its longest such run since a 13-game streak from Jan. 31-April 2, 2009.
Ryan Kesler(notes) tallied a goal and an assist in Monday’s victory, giving him three and two, respectively, in his last four games. The center has already reached a career high with 27 goals -tied with teammate Daniel Sedin(notes) for third in the NHL - and he earned high praise from Vigneault following practice Tuesday.
“He’s just an overall complete player and real good leader that has been growing in front of our eyes,” said Vigneault. “Every year he’s gotten better and that’s great for our team.”
Roberto Luongo(notes), who made 25 saves Monday, has gone 11-0-5 with a 2.00 goals-against average since a 3-2 loss to St. Louis on Dec. 5. He was in goal for all four meetings against the Predators last season, recording a 2-2-0 record with a 2.26 GAA.
Nashville (27-16-6), unable to overcome its recent struggles with the man advantage, saw its three-game winning streak come to an end with a 3-1 loss at Calgary on Monday night.
The Predators went 0 for 5 on the power play and have converted only three of their last 29 power-play opportunities. The Flames went 2 for 6 with an extra man.
Pekka Rinne(notes) stopped 24 of 27 shots as he allowed more than two goals for the second time in his last 11 starts. Rinne has gone 9-2-0 with a 1.62 GAA over that span and he hasn’t lost back-to-back road starts since Nov. 22-26.
He made 24 saves in a 5-3 win over Vancouver on Jan. 28, 2009 - his only career start at Rogers Arena.
Despite Monday’s loss, the Predators are tied with Anaheim for fourth place in the West with the break looming following a 10-3-0 run.
Shea Weber(notes), Nashville’s lone All-Star, leads the team with 29 points but has recorded only two goals and three assists in 17 games against the Canucks. One of those goals was a game-winner in the Predators’ last visit to Vancouver, a 3-2 victory Jan. 11, 2010.