VAN GM1 Preview

It all starts with Game 1.

After clinching the 16th postseason berth in franchise history a little more than a week ago, the Nashville Predators begin their quest for the Stanley Cup on Sunday when they kick off their First Round matchup against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena.

With only four losses standing between them and a possible first-round exit, getting off on the right foot will be paramount for the Predators on Sunday.

“Obviously, I think the start is important,” Predators Captain Roman Josi said. “It's going to be loud, and I think every first playoff game, the first 10 minutes are always kind of the most intense minutes of the season. And both teams are well rested, so it's going to be intense and you want to get off to a good start.”

“Whatever game is in front of us is the most important one, and we want to get off to a good start,” Predators forward Ryan O’Reilly said. “It's a chance for us to set the tone for the series and it’s not won in the first game, but we can start chipping away. We want to start wearing them down and making it difficult on them. They’re a good team, but we're good too. It's going to be a fun challenge and you have to kind of get excited for it, start preparing and lean into it.”

While Nashville went 0-for-3 against Vancouver during the regular season, the Predators evolved into a much different and more dangerous team down the stretch, most notably during the team’s historic 18-game point streak.

To start the first-round series on the right foot, they’ll need to lock into the same winning identity for a full 60 minutes against the Canucks.

“We know how good they are and they didn't give us a whole lot [this season],” Predators Head Coach Andrew Brunette said. “Obviously, the numbers speak for themselves, with the way they forecheck and the way they defend. They're going to be a load to handle and it's going to really test every facet of our game.”

Puck drop at Rogers Arena is at 9 p.m. CT, with the game set to broadcast on Bally Sports South, ESPN, 102.5 The Game and El Jefe Radio.

Here’s everything you need to know:


Filip Forsberg led the Predators in the regular season with 94 points and 48 goals, the 12th and sixth-most, respectively, among all NHL skaters.

Josi led his team with 62 assists and registered the second-most points with 85. Nashville’s captain led all NHL defensemen in goals (23) and was third in points. In the playoffs, Josi owns the franchise record for games played (89), assists (31) and multi-assist games (7).

Juuse Saros owned a 35-24-5 record this season, with a 2.86 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage. Saros is 3-7-0 in 17 career postseason appearances, posting a 2.78 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage. His last postseason start was on May 27, 2021 against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Kevin Lankinen posted an 11-6-0 record, a 2.82 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage after 24 appearances this season. Lankinen has yet to make a postseason appearance.

Since Feb. 17, the Predators shared the second-most wins (20) and owned the second-most points (43) in the NHL. During that span, Nashville outscored their opponents 106-71 - the second-highest differential in the League - scored the second-most goals per game (3.79) and allowed the fifth-fewest (2.54).


J.T. Miller led the Canucks in points this season with 103 (37g-66a), Brock Boeser led in goals (40) and Quinn Hughes led in assists (75).

Miller’s 103 points were the ninth-most among NHL skaters this season. The forward has 44 points (9g-35a) in 78 career playoff games.

Hughes led all League blueliners in points (92) and assists this season. He has 16 points (2g-14a) in 17 career postseason appearances.

Thatcher Demko concluded the regular season with a 35-14-2 record, a 2.45 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage in 51 appearances. Among qualified NHL goaltenders (played for 25 or more games), Demko is fifth in goals-against average and tied for third in save percentage. His 35 wins are tied for sixth-most with Saros and Dallas’ Jake Oettinger.

The netminder has a 2-1-0 record, a 0.64 goals-against average and a .985 save percentage after four career postseason appearances.

The Canucks scored the sixth-most goals (279) and goals per game (3.4), while allowing the fifth-fewest goals against (221) this season. Their power play (22.7%) was tied for the 10th best.

Vancouver accrued the sixth-most wins (50) and points (109) this season.


The Predators are 35-42-(2)-7 all-time against the Canucks in the regular season, including a 16-24-(1)-1 record on the road.

Nashville went 0-3-0 against Vancouver during the regular season, with all three games completed by Dec. 19. Colton Sissons (2g) and Tommy Novak (2a) shared the Nashville lead with two points against Vancouver in 2023-24.

The Predators are 1-3-1 in their last five regular-season games against the Canucks; they are 4-5-1 in their last 10; 2-2-1 in their last five on the road; and 2-3-0 in their last five at home. Nashville earned points in four straight games against Vancouver from Nov. 5, 2022-March 6, 2023 (3-0-1). The Predators’ longest-ever point streak against the Canucks was six games, set from March 2, 2006-Nov. 23, 2006 (5-0-1).


The Predators only prior postseason matchup against the Canucks came 13 years ago, as Nashville advanced past the first round for the first time in franchise history. Nashville grabbed wins in Games Two and Five of the Conference Semifinals, before ultimately dropping the series in Game Six.

Nashville earned the first second-round win in franchise history in double overtime at Rogers Arena on April 30, 2011. Matt Halischuk beat Roberto Luongo to score the game-winner, his second of the postseason. Pekka Rinne, named the First Star of the Game, made 32 saves and earned the seventh postseason win of his career.

In Game Five, Joel Ward scored twice in the first six minutes of the third period to propel Nashville to a 4-3 win over Vancouver. David Legwand scored the game’s first goal shorthanded, before Vancouver responded with a pair of goals. Legwand scored again in the second period to knot the score at two apiece, before Ward put the game away in the final frame. Rinne made 31 saves and grabbed his eighth career postseason win.

Excluding an empty-net goal scored by Vancouver in game four, each game of the six-game series was decided by a single goal.

Ward led Nashville and was second among all skaters in the series in points with eight (4g-4a). Legwand (4g-1a), Ryan Suter (1g-2a) and Martin Erat (3a) each recorded at least three points. Rinne went 2-4 with a .932 save percentage, stopping 177 of 190 shots faced in the series.


  • O’Reilly is the lone Predators player to appear in a postseason series against the Canucks in his NHL career. The forward recorded eight points (4g-4a) in six games for St. Louis during the 2020 Western Conference First Round.
  • Josi has points in seven of his last 12 games (1g-6a) against Vancouver. He also has 16 points (1g-15a) in his last 21 games vs. the Canucks and posted a six-game point streak (7a) against Vancouver from Jan. 10, 2017-Dec. 13, 2018.
  • Brunette and Canucks Head Coach Rick Tocchet were teammates on the Washington Capitals in 1996-97; David Poile was the team’s general manager.
  • North Vancouver native Colton Sissons has 11 points (7g-4a), including one game-winning goal, in 23 career games against the Canucks.
  • Dante Fabbro hails from Coquitlam, B.C., and has one goal and two assists in 11 career games vs. Vancouver.
  • Tyson Barrie is a native of Victoria, B.C. He has 27 points (6g-21a), including two game-winning goals, in 44 career meetings with the Canucks.
  • Luke Evangelista scored his first two career NHL goals on March 6, 2023 at Vancouver. He became the second player (Jordan Gross) in Predators history to score his first two career NHL goals in the same game.
  • Alexandre Carrier skated in his first career NHL game on Jan. 17, 2017 at Vancouver.
  • Anthony Beauvillier played parts of two NHL seasons with Vancouver in 2022-23 and 2023-24, recording 28 points (11g-17a) in 55 games.
  • Luke Schenn played in 139 games for the Canucks from 2018-19 and 2021-23, posting 40 points (8g-32a).
  • Canucks forward Phillip Di Giuseppe appeared in three games for Nashville during the 2018-19 campaign.


Coverage for Game 1 begins at 8:30 p.m. CT with the Predators LIVE! pregame show on Bally Sports South, hosted by Lyndsay Rowley. Play-by-play announcer Willy Daunic and analyst Chris Mason will have the call on the Bally Sports South side, while play-by-play announcer Mike Monaco and analyst A. J. Mleczko will have the call on the ESPN side.

Pete Weber and Hal Gill will call the game on 102.5 The Game and the Predators Radio Network, with pregame, postgame and intermission coverage by Max Herz beginning one hour before puck drop. The game will also be broadcast in Spanish on El Jefe which airs on 96.7 FM, 105.3 FM and 810 AM. (El partido también se transmite en español por El Jefe en 96.7 FM, 105.3 FM y 810 AM.)