Vancouver Canucks vs. Nashville Predators Betting Preview

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Feb/17/2011
Vancouver Canucks vs. Nashville Predators Betting Preview

This Vancouver Canucks vs. Nashville Predators betting preview is courtesy of Sportsbook.com.  The line was Vancouver -120 with a total of 5.5.

Vancouver enters play on Thursday with the most points in the NHL. They travel to Nashville to take on the Predators who are currently tied with five teams for the final five playoff spots out West, with all five teams being just one point ahead of Los Angeles for ninth.

Vancouver is on pace to win its third straight Northwest Division title and win the Presidents’ Trophy for the first time in franchise history. Despite earning at least 88 points in each of their past nine seasons, the Canucks have not enjoyed much success in the postseason, never making it past the Western Conference Semifinals. They are led this season by the Brothers’ Sedin who rank second (Daniel with 73) and third (Henrik with 68) in the NHL in points. The Canucks have scored the most goals in the league this season (194), and also lead the NHL in shooting percentage (10.4). Mikael Samuelsson has six goals in the past six games and 15 points in the past 10 games.

Nashville is 3-1-1 in its past five games and enters six points behind the Red Wings in the Central Division. While the Preds have enjoyed some regular-season success in their 12-year history (three seasons of at least 100 points), they are still looking for their first playoff series win. They are led by goaltender Pekka Rinne who enters Thursday tied for second in the NHL with a 2.10 GAA and second in save percentage (.930). He has been victimized by lack of scoring as only three teams have scored fewer than Nashville’s 145 goals this season. The latest victim of coach Barry Trotz frustration in their lack of offense is 12-year veteran J.P. Dumont. He was a scratch on Tuesday in the Predators’ 2-1 OT loss to San Jose despite there being nothing physically wrong with him. Dumont had missed only one game prior to Tuesday, but has only 17 points and none in his past eight contests. Trotz called it a coach's decision to scratch Dumont, but clearly he's looking to give the forward a kick in the pants.

Vancouver has used 12 defensemen this season and has three of its top six (Keith Ballard, Alex Edler and Andrew Alberts) on injured reserve while Dan Hamhuis remains out with a concussion. Assistant GM Lorne Henning told the Vancouver Province on Tuesday that Ballard (knee sprain) and Hamhuis are progressing, but Hamhuis is doing only light skating and Ballard won't be on the ice until next week. Alberts is out at least six weeks after having surgery on his broken wrist and Edler is out indefinitely after back surgery. Defenseman Lee Sweatt is also on injured reserve with a broken foot. Nashville is missing defenseman Francis Bouillon, who has been out with a concussion since Jan. 16.

Vancouver has won eight of 10 and shows no sign of slowing down despite having a depleted defensive corps. It’s scary to think how good this team might be when its defensemen return, but right now it is scuffling to find healthy players. Yann Sauve became the 13th different Canuck to make his NHL debut this season on Tuesday. The Preds are tough, but Vancouver leads the league with a +24 goal differential in the first period and that means bad news for Nashville who can’t keep up with the Canucks offensively.

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