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National Hockey League

NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, March 19th (All times Eastern)

Nashville Predators (29-30-10) at Vancouver Canucks (31-30-10), 10 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of teams falling back in the Western Conference playoff race square off on Wednesday night looking for key points as the Vancouver Canucks play host to the Nashville Predators.

Though coming off a split of a four-game road trip, the Canucks' 4-3 setback to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night was their 14th in 18 games and has the club five points back of the second wild card spot.

The Predators are nine points back of that final postseason berth as they have lost six of their last nine games. That includes a 5-1 setback on Tuesday night to the Edmonton Oilers, who sit last in the West.

Gabriel Bourque scored the only goal of the game for the Predators, who have dropped their last two contests, and Pekka Rinne was pulled halfway through the third period after yielding five goals on 26 shots. Carter Hutton saved all four shots he faced in relief.

"It's very disappointing. These are the games you absolutely want to win," said Rinne. "You have to tip your hat (to the Oilers). They played well, played hard and we didn't."

It is unknown if Rinne or Hutton will get the call tonight. Rinne is 5-7-1 with a 2.87 goals against average in 15 previous meetings with the Canucks, while Hutton beat them the only other time he faced them by allowing just one goal on 34 shots.

Canucks goaltender Eddie Lack has never faced the Predators and is coming off Monday's setback to the Lightning in which he yielded four goals on 30 shots.

Alexandre Burrows had two goals and also assisted on Jannik Hansen's short- handed tally. That gave Burrows five goals in his last four games after failing to light the lamp over his first 35 games of the season, but it hasn't translated into wins for the club.

"Goals are nice, but we need to win games," Burrows said. "I'd rather win 1-0 than lose 4-3 and score goals."

The Canucks and Predators have split two meetings this season, with each club winning once on the road.

Vancouver's 3-1 victory on Dec. 3 featured two third-period goals by Ryan Kesler, who is currently out with a sprained right knee.

Nashville countered with a 2-1 triumph on Jan. 23, keyed by Hutton and a two- point night by Nick Spaling.

The Canucks, who lost to the Preds for the first time in the last five meetings, have won seven of the last 10 overall in this series.

03/19 10:47:35 ET