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Hump Day NHL Skate: Canucks Prep, Chelios Record Tied, Sneaky Predators

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The Vancouver Canucks practice at Rogers Arena Wednesday morning in preparation for Thursday night’s home tilt against the NHL’s hottest team, the Calgary Flames, winners of ten straight.

We’ll keep you abreast of any line-up changes as the day moves along; we know that defenceman Kyle Burroughs won’t be back any time soon, he’s week-to-week with an upper body injury. Fellow right shot defenceman Tucker Poolman could be getting close.

While we await word, you should probably throw on a pair of blades and …

Let’s Skate! …

Crafty Cats

The Nashville Predators are sneaky good. Last night they snapped the Florida Panthers nine-game home winning streak with a 6-4 come from behind victory in Sunrise. The Predators presently hold the top wild card spot in the NHL’s Western Conference with 62 points, three points back of the third place Minnesota Wild in the Central Division.

In their three-game season series, particularly at five-on-five, the Vancouver Canucks skated rather well against Nashville, a team Vancouver trails by eight points. The Predators beat the Canucks 4-2 back on February 1st in Nashville with a power play goal ultimately being the difference. Their win against the Canucks in Vancouver on November 5th also saw special teams being the key. The Predators scored twice on the man advantage to pull out the 3-2 win.

Vancouver’s lone victory against the Predators took place in Tennessee’s capital city on January 18th when the Canucks skated to a 3-1 final. The game marked the emergence of the ‘Baltic Line’ featuring Elias Pettersson together with Vasily Podkolzin and Nils H√∂glander.

Nashville possesses one of the NHL’s great break-out stories this year, that of 24-year-old rookie left winger Tanner Jeannot. He’s big, he fights, and he scores, he’s potted 17 goals this season. He dropped the mitts with Burroughs in the January game and tossed ’em against Luke Schenn back in November, both times in the 2nd period.

Chara = Chelios

The largest man in NHL history, Zdeno Chara, is also now the most prolific defenceman in league history in terms of longevity. Chara tied Chris Chelios for most career NHL games played by a blue-liner Tuesday night when he skated with the New York Islanders in Seattle. The match against the Kraken was the 1,651st for the 6-foot-9-inch, 250-pound, 44-year-old. He picked up his 8th assist of the season in the Isles 5-2 win over the Kraken.

Barring anything unexpected, Chara should stand alone with the D-man record when New York plays in San Jose against the Sharks on Thursday night. Chara has 207 goals, 467 assists, and 2,068 career penalty minutes. He played in three Stanley Cup Finals in his career, winning against the Canucks in 2011 and losing to the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues in 2013 and 2019 respectively.

Standings Glance

The worst case scenario in SoCal Tuesday night for the Vancouver Canucks was to see the Anaheim Ducks vs. San Jose Sharks game become a three-pointer, but that’s exactly what happened. Not only that, the team the Canucks would have preferred come out on the losing end, the Ducks, ended up winning in a shoot-out 4-3.

What it means: Vancouver, with 54 points, sits five points behind three teams, the Los Angeles Kings, the Edmonton Oilers, and the Anaheim Ducks, all with 59. Based on fewer games played the previous two currently occupy playoff positions. Games Played: Edmonton and LA, 50; Vancouver 52, Anaheim 53.

After the Calgary Flames game on Thursday night at Rogers Arena the Canucks play their next nine matches against Eastern Conference foes.

Enjoy the Hockey Action !!

VHN Managing Editor Rob Simpson has been covering the NHL for three decades on live TV, radio, and as a journalist. He worked his first ever game getting postgame sound as a teenager; it was Vancouver vs. Detroit.

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