Preds host Canucks aiming for 4th straight victory

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( - The first-place Nashville Predators will try to match their longest winning streak of the season when they shoot for a fourth consecutive victory in Tuesday's home clash with the Vancouver Canucks.

The Predators, who lead the Central Division by two points over Chicago, have been the model of consistency during what has so far been a superb showing in 2014-15. Nashville has yet to lose consecutive games this season, but the club's longest winning streak is still a modest four-game run from Nov. 22-29.

Nashville has earned its fourth three-game winning streak of the campaign thanks to recent wins over Carolina, Dallas and Minnesota. The Preds also are currently on a 6-0-2 point streak that has the club in a tie with Anaheim for the most points in the NHL with 60.

As a result of their strong showing so far, the Preds will be well-represented at this season's NHL All-Star Weekend later this month in Columbus. One of the All-Star teams will be led by Nashville head coach Peter Laviolette, while his goaltender Pekka Rinne and defenseman Shea Weber were named as All-Stars.

Also, forward Filip Forsberg was among six rookie skater chosen to partake in the All-Star Skills competition on Jan. 24 at Nationwide Arena. The All-Star Game will be played on Sunday, Jan. 25.

Rinne is 28-6-2 with a sparkling 1.98 goals against average and .930 save percentage this season and he came up with 36 saves to anchor Saturday's 3-1 win at Minnesota.

Calle Jarnkrok and Colin Wilson scored in the third period to help the Preds pick up the win at Xcel Energy Center. Mike Fisher added an early score for Nashville.

"We're going to have our off-nights, but when we have those kind of games we still find a way to win. That's why we're at where we're at," Wilson said.

Nashville is kicking off a brief two-game homestand tonight when it aims for a sixth consecutive win at Bridgestone Arena.

All told, the Preds boast a 16-2-1 record on home ice this season. They will complete the homestand Friday against Washington when former Nashville coach Barry Trotz returns to Bridgestone Arena. Trotz was the head coach for the Predators for 15 seasons from the franchise's inception until he was let go at the end of last season.

The Canucks enter the second of three meetings this season against Nashville having dropped two of the past three encounters. Vancouver lost a 3-1 home decision to the Preds on Nov. 2, with Forsberg posting two goals and an assist and Rinne stopping 26-of-27 shots for the win.

Vancouver has fared well in Music City, however, claiming three straight and five of the past six meetings at Bridgestone Arena. The Canucks are 12-6-2 as the visiting club this season and are kicking off a five-game road trip tonight.

The Canucks went 2-3-0 on a recent five-game homestand and lost the final two tilts of the residency against Florida and Calgary.

The most recent setback came in Saturday's 1-0 defeat at the hands of the Flames, who saw Joni Ortio make 36 saves to record a shutout in his first start of the season. Mikael Backlund also provided the game-winning goal on Calgary's first shot.

Eddie Lack saved all but one of the 23 shots he faced in the loss.

"Sometimes you play well and don't win, that was tonight," Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins said.

Ryan Miller will start tonight for Vancouver and he is expected to face Rinne. Miller is 5-2-1 with a 2.17 GAA in eight career outings against the Predators, while Rinne is 6-7-1 with a 2.74 GAA when playing against Vancouver.

The Canucks, who are tied with San Jose for the third automatic playoff bid in the Pacific Division, will continue their swing on Thursday when they visit the Philadelphia Flyers.

Vancouver could get defenseman Dan Hamhuis back at some point during this trip, but he is expected to miss tonight's contest. Hamhuis has been out since suffering a groin injury on Nov. 20, missing Vancouver's last 20 games.