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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, January 23rd (All times Eastern)
Nashville Predators (22-22-7) at Vancouver Canucks (26-16-9), 10 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Nashville Predators have found success by getting their offense from their defense.
The Predators hope to begin a four-game road trip on Thursday night with a victory as they visit the Vancouver Canucks.
Nashville has won three of its past four games, with 15 goals over that span. Seven of those have come from defensemen Shea Weber, Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis.
Both Weber and Josi scored in Monday's 4-1 victory over the Dallas Stars. Josi added an assist, while forwards Nick Spaling and Mike Fisher also lit the lamp as Nashville moved to 6-4-3 in its past 13 games.
"Obviously, there have been some good screens lately and things are just going (in), so hopefully we can just keep getting things there and we'll get second opportunities off of it," said Weber, who has three goals and two assists in his past four games.
Weber has four goals and 13 points since Dec. 28 and has logged 22 points, including six goals, over his last 22 games, while Josi has six points in his last six games.
Despite the offensive production from the blue line, the Predators still added another point-producing defenseman by getting 23-year-old Michael Del Zotto from the New York Rangers on Wednesday in exchange for defenseman Kevin Klein.
Del Zotto, who struggled with playing time under new Rangers coach and former Canucks bench boss Alain Vigneault, had two goals and 11 points in 42 games this season. He had 26 goals and 121 points in 292 career games with New York.
"Michael gives us another young, gifted left-handed shooting defenseman with significant offensive upside," Preds general manager David Poile said. "We look forward to his presence on our already talented young blue line, further balancing our defensive corps."
It was the second trade in eight days for the Predators, who shipped forward Matt Hendricks to Edmonton on Jan. 15 for goaltender Devan Dubnyk.
Dubnyk was roughed up in his Predators debut on Saturday versus Colorado, allowing five goals on 29 shots in a loss. He is 5-6-3 with a 2.59 goals against average in his career against the Canucks, while Hutton has never faced them.
Vancouver welcomes Nashville looking to win a third straight contest. The Canucks held off the Oilers 2-1 on Tuesday despite missing head coach John Tortorella and star center Henrik Sedin.
Tortorella is serving a 15-day suspension that is set to be completed on Feb. 2 for his actions in last Saturday's game versus the Calgary Flames, while Sedin missed his first game since March 19, 2004 because of a rib injury. That halted his consecutive games played streak at 679, which is the sixth longest in NHL history.
Sedin is day-to-day and his status for this game is unknown.
Zack Kassian had the winner in Tuesday's decision and Kellan Lain added his first career goal. It came in his second NHL game, though his first ended after just two seconds due to his involvement in the game-opening line brawl versus the Flames.
"Everyone was so thrilled for Kellan," said assistant coach Mike Sullivan. "It's been a tough couple of days."
In his second start since coming back from an ankle injury, Roberto Luongo made 28 saves as the Canucks won consecutive contests for the first time since a three-game run from Dec. 20-29. They had gone 1-5-3 in between the win streaks.
Luongo is 16-12-0 with three ties and a 2.19 GAA in his career versus the Predators, making 30 saves in a 3-1 victory in Nashville on Dec. 3.
Ryan Kesler had a pair of goals for Vancouver, which has won four straight and seven of its last nine versus Nashville.
The Canucks, who are set to play four straight at home, have won four of the last seven encounters in Vancouver with the Predators.
01/23 10:57:37 ET
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