Game Day: Canucks look for 2 in a row at home against Preds

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Canucks Game Day Predators

The Canucks face the the red hot Nashville Predators tonight at Rogers Arena.

Vancouver is fresh off a come from behind 3-2 OT victory against the Arizona Coyotes. It was a game that Canucks fans were shown a glimpse of the future. Sven Baertschi and Jake Virtanen were the Canucks best skaters and new Canuck, Markus Granlund, scored his first goal in a Vancouver uniform in OT.

Game Time: 7:00 pm

TV: Sportsnet Pacific

The Nashville Predators are currently the hottest team in hockey with a 7-0-3 record in their last 10 games and currently sit 4th in the Central Division. The Predators have more or less locked down the 1st wild ward spot in the Western Conference.

Filip Forsberg leads the Preds in scoring with 52 points (28 goals and 24 assists). Nashville has a solid team from top to bottom. Keep your eyes on high scoring Swiss defenceman Roman Josi.

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Storylines

1. Tryamkin mania!

This was the scene outside the Hotel Georgia in downtown Vancouver mid-Friday afternoon. Local media at first thought the crowd was building to see Justin Bieber, but later it was confirmed that the crowd had formed with the belief that Nikita Tryamkin was having a coffee at Bel Cafe.

The hype surrounding the 6’8″, 240-pound Russian defenceman drafted in the 3rd round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft has reached some ridiculous proportions. Tryamkin is most likely not the second coming of Zdeno Chara, however, he could very well be a top-4 NHL defenceman.

Make no mistake, it would be considered a major coup for the Canucks if Tryamkin turned into a legit 2nd pairing defenceman.

It appears that Canucks fans may see Tryamkin on Rogers Arena ice tonight, but only pre-game warm-up.

By the way, I may have been mistaken about the whole Bieber thing.

2. Canucks prospect named MVP of SHL

Remember Anton Rodin? If you have indeed forgotten, Rodin was the Canucks 2nd round pick (53rd overall) in the 2009 NHL entry draft. Now Rodin is the Swedish Elite League MVP.

Our own Ryan Biech pointed out back in November about the progress in Rodin’s game and both Trevor Linden and Jim Benning have made clear their intention to sign Rodin for next season.

The Canucks have yet another prospect to be excited about.

3. Canucks absent from analytics conference

Dan Rosen made an interesting observation when he tweeted out that only 18 of the 30 NHL teams had representatives at the 2016 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. The Canucks were later named as one of the teams that did not have representation at the conference.

Hmmm.

I am quite sure there is a vocal contingent of Canucks fans that will raise an eyebrow at the Canucks decision to skip the Sports Analytics Conference and I do believe there is some reason for concern. The Canucks, under Mike Gillis, were at the forefront of the use of analytics in professional hockey. It appears under the management of Linden and Benning, this useful tool has taken on a lesser importance.

Lineup

Nikita Tryamkin is here, but will be a healthy scratch. Ryan Miller gets the start in net.

Based on practice, the Canucks lineup should look as follows:

D. Sedin H. Sedin Virtanen
Baertschi Granlund Vrbata
Burrows Horvat Dorsett
McCann Vey Etem
Hutton Sbisa
Hamhuis Weber
Bartowski Biega
Miller

Prediction

The Canucks are coming off a feel good win against the Arizona Coyotes while the Predators are one of the hottest teams in the league.

It is one thing to beat a fellow bottom-feader like the Coyotes and quite another to put up a W against a hot team trying to secure a playoff berth. The Canucks lose to the Preds 4-2 and the Tryamkin watch continues.

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Ian Lusher Canucks Contributor
@ianlusher

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