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Canucks at Predators preview

Nashville can gain in race for Central crown; Vancouver eyes fourth straight victory

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent

CANUCKS (35-35-10) at PREDATORS (45-29-6)

8 p.m. ET; FS-TN, SNP, NHL.TV


The Game

The Nashville Predators will try to gain in the race for the Central Division title when they host the Vancouver Canucks at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday.

The Predators, tied with the Winnipeg Jets for the division lead, would move into sole possession of first place with one more point than the Jets, who play at the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday; Winnipeg can clinch the division with a win in any fashion, a Predators loss in regulation and a St. Louis Blues loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in any fashion.

Nashville is 6-2-1 in its past nine games after going 2-4-0 in its previous six games.

The Canucks seek their fourth straight win, which would mark their longest winning streak this season; Vancouver, which has been eliminated from contention for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, is 7-3-1 in its past 11 games.


Players to watch

Canucks center Bo Horvat has 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in his past 12 games and needs two goals for 100 in the NHL.

Predators defenseman P.K. Subban has five points (two goals, three assists) in a three-game point streak.


They said it

"It's been an amazing experience so far. I'm looking forward to tonight, for sure." -- Canucks defenseman Brogan Rafferty on making his NHL debut

"Obviously, the guys in the room have helped me out a ton, and the coaching staff has sat down with me and gone over film quite a bit. Coming from college, it's been a pretty smooth transition so far, just in the locker room. The guys have been great to me and help me out whenever I need it." -- Predators defenseman Dante Fabbro on adjusting to the NHL from college during the stretch run toward the Stanley Cup Playoffs


Canucks projected lineup

Jake Virtanen -- Elias Pettersson -- Brock Boeser

Tanner Pearson -- Bo Horvat -- Loui Eriksson

Ryan Spooner -- Adam Gaudette -- Josh Leivo

Tim Schaller -- Jay Beagle -- Markus Granlund

Alexander Edler -- Troy Stecher

Ben Hutton -- Brogan Rafferty

Quinn Hughes -- Luke Schenn

Jacob Markstrom

Thatcher Demko

Scratched: Ashton Sautner, Josh Teves, Nikolay Goldobin, Derrick Pouliot, Jake Kielly, Sven Baertschi, Alex Biega

Injured: Guillaume Brisebois (hip), Tyler Motte (upper body), Christopher Tanev (fractured ankle), Antoine Roussel (knee), Brandon Sutter (lower body)


Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg -- Ryan Johansen -- Viktor Arvidsson

Mikael Granlund -- Kyle Turris -- Craig Smith

Colton Sissons -- Nick Bonino -- Austin Watson

Brian Boyle -- Calle Jarnkrok -- Wayne Simmonds

Roman Josi -- Ryan Ellis

Mattias Ekholm -- P.K. Subban

Dan Hamhuis -- Dante Fabbro

Pekka Rinne

Juuse Saros

Scratched: Cody McLeod, Yannick Weber, Matt Irwin, Frederick Gaudreau, Miikka Salomaki, Rem Pitlick

Injured: Rocco Grimaldi (upper body)


Status report

Rafferty signed a one-year entry level contract with Vancouver on Monday after playing three seasons at Quinnipiac. … Virtanen skated on the left wing with Pettersson and Boeser at the morning skate but could move around. … Grimaldi did not participate in the morning skate.


Stat pack

Eriksson has 27 points (15 goals, 12 assists) in 36 games against the Predators. … Arvidsson has four points (two goals, two assists) in a four-game point streak.

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