After having gone to overtime in four of their last five games, the Canucks look to build on their 2-1 series lead with the Nashville Predators in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semi Finals at Bridgestone Arena.
Ryan Kesler (2g,2a), Chris Higgins (2g), and Christian Ehrhoff (2a) lead Vancouver in head-to-head scoring this series while Ryan Suter (1g,2a), Joel Ward (1g,1a), and Martin Erat (2a) lead Nashville.
Kesler snapped a 17 playoff game goal-less streak with his 1st star performance in Vancouver’s 3-2 overtime victory on Tuesday. Prior to that game, Kesler had played a combined 27 time against the Preds (regular season & playoffs included), where had just two goals and five assists.
It’s unclear if the Canucks will make any changes to their line-up for Game 4. Sami Salo remains a question mark and if morning skate is any indication, he may be taking the spot of Andrew Alberts. 23 players (goalies included) have already made post-season appearances for Vancouver, with the only one yet to dress in a game being Jeff Tambellini. The Canucks are leading the NHL playoffs in hits (366). Maxim Lapierre is first in the league (41) while Kevin Bieksa is third (36).
Roberto Luongo is sporting a .958 save percentage in this series. Since the end of Game 6 of Vancouver’s first round series with the Chicago Blackhawks, Luongo has allowed just five goals against on 121 shots.
With two of the first three games of this series having gone to OT, the Canucks are on pace to set a club record for most overtime games in a single series. Here is Vancouver’s history when it comes to having played three OT games in a single playoff match-up:
|Year ||Rd ||Opponent ||Result |
|1994 ||1st ||Calgary Flames ||Canucks Win in Game 7 |
|1995 ||2nd ||Chicago Blackhawks ||Canucks Lose in Game 4 |
|2007 ||1st ||Dallas Stars ||Canucks Win in Game 7 |
|2007 ||2nd ||Anaheim Ducks ||Canucks Lose in Game 5 |
Nashville head coach Barry Trotz will be making at least one change to his line-up on home ice tonight. Steve Sullivan is out with a lower body injury after playing just 7:40 in Game 3. Sullivan leads all Predators in career head-to-head scoring against the Canucks (37GP-15g,15a). Colin Wilson is the likely choice to replace Sullivan.
Joel Ward starts the night leading the Predators in playoff scoring (4g,3a). He is currently tied for the club record for points by a Nashville player in a single playoff year. David Legwand (2010) and Paul Kariya (2006) are the others sharing the record with Ward.
The Predators would love nothing more than to get their power play going in this series. They are 0-for-12 in this series and have failed to score in their last 26 straight power plays against the Canucks. For what it’s worth, the Canucks have the best road power play of any team in the playoffs (5-for-12=41.7%).
Vancouver and Nashville are the only two teams in the NHL to have surrendered two short handed goals against in this year’s playoffs. Both teams allowed just two short handed goals against during the regular season.