The Vancouver Canucks have struggled on their longest road stretch of the season. Facing the Nashville Predators could help change that.
The slumping Canucks look to rebound in the final days of their seven-game road swing by starting with a fifth consecutive victory over the Predators on Tuesday night.
Vancouver (15-10-3) lost 5-4 in a shootout at Colorado on Sunday, two days after beating Minnesota 2-1 for its first victory on the trip. The Canucks, tied with Calgary for the Northwest Division lead, are 1-3-1 on a road swing that ends Saturday at Edmonton.
While the Canucks hope to close out the final leg of the trip on a positive note, they'll try for a third consecutive win at Nashville. The Predators (14-11-2), who had their three-game winning streak snapped with a 6-3 loss at St. Louis on Monday, lost 4-0 at Vancouver on Nov. 4.
Kyle Wellwood had two goals and Daniel Sedin one with an assist for the Canucks in that contest. Sedin scored his team-leading 12th while Steve Bernier added a pair against Colorado as Vancouver blew three different leads Sunday.
"In my mind we should have won this game," said Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault, whose team has allowed 20 goals in the last six games. "I think we played well enough to win this game."
While Bernier has four goals and six assists in nine games versus Nashville, Sedin has three goals and four assists in his last four contests versus the Predators.
Though star goaltender Roberto Luongo is beginning to take part in practice with the Canucks, his return from suffering a groin injury late last month is uncertain.
While Cory Schneider made 31 saves in his second straight start Sunday, Curtis Sanford could be in net for Vancouver, which is 2-4-1 since losing Luongo. Sanford is 3-3-0 with a 3.14 goals-against average this season and 2-3-0 with a 2.97 GAA versus Nashville in his career.
Antti Pihlstrom scored his first NHL goal while leading scorer J.P. Dumont scored his third in four games Monday for Nashville, which allowed three unanswered third-period goals.
"I'm not sure what happened (late in the game)," Predators defenseman Shea Weber said. "A little mental lapse, a little miscommunication. That's something we can't do, especially late in the game. We have to salvage at least one point."
Nashville, which tries for its third straight home victory, is 5-2-1 overall since last losing two in a row from Nov. 17-21.
Dumont, who has just two goals in 19 games against Vancouver, looks to extend his overall points streak to six games.
Pekka Rinne made 20 saves against St. Louis on the same day he was named the NHL's first star. He allowed three more goals than he did in three starts last week.
While Rinne is 6-1-0 with a 2.61 GAA, Dan Ellis could be ready to make his first start since Nov. 29. The banged-up Ellis is 8-10-2 with a 3.06 GAA on the season and 1-3-0 with a 3.57 GAA against Vancouver.