Coming off their second shut-out of the playoffs, the Canucks look to take a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference Semi Final series with the Nashville Predators.
Chris Higgins had the lone goal for Vancouver while Roberto Luongo made 20 saves for his third career playoff shut-out. Kevin Bieksa led the Canucks in ice time (24:59), hits (4), and blocked shots (2). Preds goalie Pekka Rinne stopped 29 shots in a 1st star performance while Shea Weber led his team in shots (3) and was second ice time (28:29).
The Canucks enter tonight’s action with the best home ice record in the playoffs (3-1). Vancouver has scored just 17 goals through eight games, the lowest of any of the four Western Conference teams left in the post season. No changes are expected to Vancouver’s line-up tonight. Sami Salo skated by himself this morning before the rest of his team mates took part in morning skate.
Chris Higgins leads the Canucks and shares the NHL lead in playoff game-winning goals (2). In 30 career playoff games, Higgins has eight goals and five assists. This is his sixth career playoff series and he has scored at least a goal in each series he’s appeared in.
A couple of Canucks would love nothing more than to snap a couple of lengthy goal-less droughts tonight. Henrik Sedin has not scored in the playoffs and had only scored once in his last ten regular season games. Ryan Kesler has also gone eight straight without a goal. His longest goal-less drought during the regular season was 11 games (Feb. 17-Mar. 10).
The Predators, who were shut out eight times during the regular season, are coming off their first shut-out loss of the playoffs. Last year in their first round playoff series with the Chicago Blackhawks, Nashville was held off the score sheet in two of their four losses.
It doesn’t look like Barry Trotz will make any dramatic changes to his line-up tonight. He did say he will have a few extra players take the warm up, which includes J-P Dumont, who has 17 goals and 17 assists in 50 career playoff games.
Patric Hornqvist took three minor penalties in Game 1 after not taking a single penalty in Nashville’s first round series against Anaheim. The Preds killed off five Vancouver power plays in Thursday’s game. Over their last five games against the Canucks, Nashville has allowed one power play goal against in 21 opportunities.