Home woes continue to plague Canucks
The Vancouver Canucks have played poorly at home team this season. The Nashville Predators' road struggles have been far worse.
The Canucks look to end a three-game home losing streak while the Predators hope to record their first road win of the season Thursday night when the teams meet at GM Place (8 p.m. PT).
An impressive 26-11-4 home record last season helped Vancouver to the Northwest Division title. That success, however, has eluded the Canucks in 2007-08 as they have lost five of their first six home games.
"There's no excuse for it," goaltender Roberto Luongo said. "When you play in front of your home crowd, there's no excuse for losing games."
Vancouver has scored more than two goals at home only once this season, a trend that continued Monday with a 3-2 loss to red-hot Detroit.
Matt Cooke and Markus Naslund had goals for the Canucks (5-7-0), losers of three of four overall.
Poor special teams have contributed to Vancouver's disappointing home record.
The power play has scored on only five of 35 opportunities at home while going 8-for-28 on the road. The penalty-killing unit — the league's best last season — is 21st in the NHL at home, killing off 79.7 per cent of its short-handed situations.
Naslund is a minus-7 with just one goal scored at home while the team's other top scorers — Henrik and Daniel Sedin — are a combined minus-11 there.
Vancouver also hasn't received much production from its defence. Kevin Bieksa, who had a career-high 42 points last season, has four in 11 games — two more than Luongo.
Predators on a skid
A visit from the struggling Predators could be coming at the perfect time for the Canucks, who are 9-1-1 with one tie in the last 12 home meetings.
Nashville (4-7-0) is also having a difficult time matching last season's success, losing seven of its last nine games overall and all five on the road.
Despite registering a season-high 40 shots, the Predators opened a five-game road trip Tuesday with a 5-1 loss to Calgary.
During the five-game road skid, Nashville has been outscored 21-3. It was on the verge of being shut out in three consecutive road games before Alexander Radulov scored on the power play 2:31 into the third period.
"When we're on the road, it's us against everyone, we don't have any fans. It's going to take all 20 guys in this dressing room to turn this thing around, no one else is going to do it for us," right wing Jordin Tootoo said.
Nashville, which went winless in its first nine road games in 2002-03, hasn't lost six straight away from home in regulation since Jan. 26-March 1, 2006.
A punchless power play has also been an issue for the Predators, who are 6-for-48 with the man advantage, including 1-for-19 away from home.
Chris Mason returned to the net Tuesday and lost his seventh consecutive start after rookie Dan Ellis won the previous two games. Mason has an ugly 5.08 goals-against average during his losing streak, allowing four goals or more five times.