Canucks-Predators Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 20, 2012
After going three straight games without any points, the Sedin twins broke out in a big way over the weekend for the Vancouver Canucks. The brothers have enjoyed great success against the Nashville Predators this season and look to continue their surge Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena. No two Western Conference teammates have combined for more points than the Sedins, who were held without any Feb. 11-15. They combined for 12 in two victories over the weekend, 6-2 at home over Toronto on Saturday and 5-2 at Edmonton on Sunday to begin this six-game trip. "This was a good start to our trip," Henrik Sedin said. "From the first faceoff, we started well in the game and we were never really in any trouble. This is a long and tough road trip for us and it was nice to start it off with a win like this one." Each Sedin brother has six points against Nashville (34-19-6) this season. Vancouver (38-15-6) has won two of three 2011-12 meetings against the club it eliminated in six games in the West semifinals last year. Star defensemen Shea Weber and Ryan Suter helped limit the Sedins somewhat in the playoffs but Ryan Kesler carried Vancouver with 11 points. "We've played them a couple times already and we know what they're capable of doing," Predators rookie defenseman Roman Josi said. "We just gotta play the same way and play strong on those skilled guys and get a good forecheck going and hope we get another win Tuesday." The Predators are 7-0-1 in their last eight home games. The lone defeat was a 4-3 shootout loss Feb. 7 to the Canucks. Roberto Luongo made 37 saves in that contest to improve to 5-0-0 with a 1.71 goals-against average in his last five starts in Nashville, including the postseason, outdueling Pekka Rinne each time. Luongo has started in both victories over the Predators this season, with Cory Schneider starting - and getting pulled from - the loss. Veteran defenseman Hal Gill will make his home debut for Nashville. Gill, acquired from Montreal on Friday, logged more than 16 minutes in Sunday's 3-2 win at Dallas. "I don't think there's a secret what my game is, what my strengths are: kill penalties, move the puck quick, use my reach and try to control the front of the net," Gill said. Gill's strengths will be welcome since Nashville has had trouble against Vancouver's power play. The Canucks lead the league at 22.3 percent and have converted 5 of 15 chances in the season series. Vancouver is 10-0-3 in its last 13 games, scoring first each time during its current four-game win streak. The Canucks built 2-0 leads after the first period in both games this weekend, with Daniel Sedin setting up Henrik for a goal 53 seconds into Sunday's contest. "We've been having some good starts, our first shift has been very good lately," defenseman Kevin Bieksa said. "It's no secret that it's a lot easier game when you start with the lead." The Canucks trail NHL-leading Detroit by two points. The Predators are in fifth place in the West, five points behind St. Louis in the race for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
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