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Preds go for seven in a row against Canucks

by Deborah Francisco
CANUCKS (50-17-9) AT PREDATORS (41-25-10)


Last 10 -- Vancouver 9-1-0; Nashville 8-1-1.

Season Series – The Canucks have the opportunity to split the four-game season series on Tuesday night. The Canucks bested the Predators 2-1 in their first meeting of the season on Jan. 26, but Nashville responded with two consecutive wins -- once in February and once in March.

Big Story – With each victory the Canucks earn they continue to build on a new franchise regular-season point record. With 109 points and six games remaining in the regular season, the Canucks are blowing their old record (105 points set in 2006-2007) out of the water.

Meanwhile, Nashville has won six straight and hopes to keep up that pace to hold onto a precious Western Conference playoff spot. Going into Tuesday's contest, the Predators sit in the sixth spot in the East with 92 points, but Anaheim, Chicago, Calgary and Dallas are all right behind Nashville in the mix, so anything could happen in the final weeks of the regular season.

Team Scope:

Canucks – The Canucks have won the first two games of a three-game road trip starting with a 3-1 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers on March 25 and a 4-1 win over the Blue Jackets on Sunday. The victory on Sunday marked the first-ever 50-win season for the Canucks in the franchises 40-year history.

Cory Schneider made 39 saves and improved to 15-3-2 on the season with the win in Columbus. Vancouver was outshot, 40-24, in the game.

"Teams are obviously getting themselves prepared for us," coach Alain Vigneault said. "I thought Columbus, tonight, played real strong. At the end of the night, our goaltender was better than their goaltender and we won the game."

Predators – Nashville seems to be peaking at just the right time to make a final push toward the postseason with a six-game winning streak and six regular season games remaining. All six of those remaining games will be played against Western Conference rivals.

 The Predators dismissed the Dallas Stars, 4-2, on Saturday night thanks to two goals from Mike Fisher, who has been recovering from an upper-body injury. Fisher couldn't be returning to his game at a more perfect time for the Predators.

"Fisher has been banged up for a long time," coach Barry Trotz said. "He is finally getting healthier and you can see it in his play. He let it out of the bag that he is healthy now."

"It felt good to get a couple," Fisher said. "That was a pretty big monkey to get off of my back. It has been a tough slide here for me lately. Obviously, the win is the most important thing, but it felt good to help out."

Who's hotChris Higgins scored his first goals as a Canuck since being acquired at the trade deadline with his pair of goals in Vancouver's 4-1 victory against the Blue Jackets on Sunday. … Fisher broke a 17-game scoreless streak with his two goals on Saturday night.

Injury Report – For the Canucks, Mikael Samuelsson (leg) and Tanner Glass (upper body) are both day-to-day, while Manny Malhotra is out for the season after undergoing eye surgery last week. Dan Hamhuis sustained a concussion on Sunday, and Andrew Alberts also remains unavailable with a broken wrist. … Predators winger Steve Sullivan (groin) underwent surgery March 5 and is still a couple of weeks away.

Stat Pack – Since being paired together during the March 3 game at Vancouver, the Martin Erat-David Legwand-Joel Ward line has combined for 15 goals and 21 assists, paced by Legwand's seven goals and 15 points.

Puck Drop – "We're having success on the road, but sometimes as a goalie you have to make some saves on the road to let your team get into it," said Schneider, who started his 20th game of the season on Sunday when he set a personal-best with his sixth consecutive win.

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