Preds, Canucks clash in BC
The Nashville Predators will try to pick up their second victory in as many games to begin a five-game road trip as they visit the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.
The Preds started their trek in Dallas on Tuesday having lost six straight as the guest (0-5-1). However, they were able to pick up their fifth road win of the season thanks to 32 saves from Pekka Rinne and a pair of power-play goals by Shea Weber and Gabriel Bourque in a 4-0 blanking of the Stars.
Rinne logged his league-leading fifth shutout of the season and 30th of his career, while Weber stayed hot with his sixth point in four games. The defenseman has tallied four goals and 13 points in his previous 13 games.
"We got a couple of power-play goals tonight and a little bit of balanced scoring," said Nashville head coach Barry Trotz. "Had a good plan there. Second period, Rinne was outstanding, absolutely outstanding. Made some huge saves and then I thought in the third period we actually played OK."
Nick Spaling and Rich Clune also scored and David Legwand and Craig Smith added two assists each for the Predators, who came into the game having lost four of their last five but won for the third time in nine games.
Nashville is one of three teams tied for eighth place in the Western Conference with 28 points and picked up Tuesday's win despite leading scorer Colin Wilson and fellow forward Patric Hornqvist missing the game due to upper body injuries. Paul Gaustad, meanwhile, exited early due to an upper body ailment of his own.
While Nashville is looking to get its road game going, Vancouver is just trying to get back on track after snapping a four-game slide with Tuesday's 2-1 shootout win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Roberto Luongo made 26 saves through overtime and was a perfect 3-for-3 in the shootout, while Mason Raymond had the only goal of the extra frame to cap the second round. He skated in and cut to the slot before doing a 180-degree turn with the puck and sliding it into the open net.
"In the shootout, it's about getting a save or two from your goaltender and hoping that one of your guys can put it in," Vancouver head coach Alain Vigneault said. "Mason did a real great move, and it was a nice win for us."
Jason Garrison scored in regulation for the Canucks, who had also lost six of their previous seven but still lead the Northwest Division by two points over the Minnesota Wild.
Vigneault could opt to start Luongo tonight in the opener of a four-game homestand given that the netminder posted a 23-save shutout to pace a 1-0 victory in Nashville on Feb. 22.
Dale Weise had the lone goal of the game to spoil Rinne's 23-save effort.
The Canucks have won four of their past six against the Predators overall.