The Canucks can notch the club record Tuesday night against a Predators team closing in on its sixth playoff berth in seven seasons.
Vancouver (50-17-9) continues to boast the best record in the NHL after its third straight win, 4-1 at Columbus on Sunday. The Canucks matched their franchise-best eight-game road win streak set Dec. 20, 2003-Jan. 13, 2004 despite being outshot 40-24 by the lowly Blue Jackets.
“Just another ugly road win out there and they’re not all going to be perfect,” defenseman Kevin Bieksa(notes) said. “I think a lot of people forget there’s two teams on the ice sometimes and expect us to dominate.”
Nashville (41-25-10) is 8-1-0 in its last nine as it tries to win seven straight for the first time since Nov. 12-25, 2009. The Predators have moved into a fifth-place tie with Los Angeles in the Western Conference.
“Everybody’s contributing and that’s huge right now for us,” coach Barry Trotz said. “Our big guys are playing big and our role guys are playing out their role, and everybody’s doing the right things.”
“It’s funny, you could even call him our most valuable player, being the backup goalie,” Bieksa said. “He’s allowed us to give Roberto a lot of days off and keep him fresh. It feels like he wins every game when he’s in there.”
The Sedin brothers have seen their ice time reduced on this road trip, with Henrik logging more than 18 minutes once and Daniel not reaching that plateau in three games. Daniel Sedin(notes) is four points shy of becoming the league’s first player to reach 100 this season while Henrik is tied for second in the league with 89 points.
The brothers have combined for just one goal and two assists in 2010-11 against Nashville, which leads the season series 2-1-0. Each game had four total goals or fewer, with the Predators going 0 for 9 on the power play and the Canucks 1 for 11.
Luongo started those three games, posting a 2.02 goals-against average. Schneider has never faced the Predators.
Rinne has won five straight starts, making 34 saves in a 5-4 win over Anaheim on Thursday and 28 in Saturday’s 4-2 victory over Dallas.
The Ducks and Stars are among a group of teams chasing Nashville for a playoff spot. The Predators want to make sure they remain in front.
“You’re always concerned about a letdown,” Trotz said. “It’s our job as coaches and their job as players and in our leadership group (to) make sure that the focus stays. Until we cross that finish line, we have to be really good.”