Skip to content

Canucks know Predators different from team they swept in season

Icon Sportswire / Getty

Vancouver swept its three-game season series against Nashville. That doesn't count for very much going into their playoff matchup.

The Canucks know all too well the NHL playoffs means a clean slate, especially with how well the Predators finished the regular season.

“They were a pretty hot team here down the stretch, so they’re feeling probably a lot better than the times we played them during the season,” Canucks center Dakota Joshua said. "And it should be a great series.”

Vancouver last played Nashville on Dec. 19. The Predators didn't really click until management canceled a planned U2 concert in mid-February, sparking a franchise-record point streak that propelled the team to the top Western Conference wild card.

“We’ve definitely found an identity, found some confidence," Nashville defenseman Ryan McDonagh said.

This is Nashville's ninth playoff berth in the past 10 seasons and 16th in 20. The Predators haven't won a series since 2018 after winning the Presidents' Trophy.

Vancouver's last series victory came in the Edmonton bubble in 2020. Before that, the Canucks last won a series in 2011 when they reached the Stanley Cup Final, beating Nashville in six games in the Western semifinals.

This best-of-seven series begins Sunday night in Vancouver.


Rick Tocchet guided the Canucks to the Pacific Division title and third in the West with 109 points in his first full season. This is only the second playoff berth in nine seasons for the Canucks, making Tocchet a top candidate for the Jack Adams coach of the year award.

Andrew Brunette took over Nashville last summer and helped the Predators shake off a slow start to finish the season with 20 wins and 43 points since Feb. 17 — second in the NHL in that span.

“I don’t think they’re overly worried about us," Brunette said of the Canucks. "We’re just going to do what we do, and it’s a great place to play. We’re excited to be here. It’s going to be a great atmosphere.”


This series features two likely finalists for the Norris Trophy in Quinn Hughes of the Canucks and Predators captain Roman Josi. Hughes led all defensemen with 92 points, while Josi led defensemen with 23 goals and ranked third in that group with 85 points.

This is Quinn's second postseason. Josi has played 85 playoff games, and the 2020 Norris winner has led all defensemen since the start of this year with 56 points in 45 games.


Juuse Saros missed the Predators' last playoff appearance when they were swept by Colorado in 2022 with an ankle injury. The man who replaced fellow Finn Pekka Rinne in Nashville's net is looking for the first playoff series victory of his career.

Saros started the season slowly. The 2022 Vezina Trophy finalist who finished fourth in voting for that award last year started a league-high 64 games and led the NHL with 1,672 saves. He won nine of his last 14 starts, giving up an average of 2.92 goals with a .904 save percentage.

Thatcher Demko has started three of his four career playoff games, but he went 35-15-2 in 51 games this season. The Canucks goalie returned Tuesday from a knee injury suffered March 7.


Filip Forsberg led Nashville with a career-high 94 points, and he also set a franchise-record with 48 goals. He played all 82 games for the first time since the 2016-17 season when the Predators reached the franchise's first Stanley Cup Final. Forsberg has been at his best since Feb. 17, recording 41 points to finish the season.

Center J.T. Miller led Vancouver with 103 points and was second to teammate Elias Pettersson (10) with nine game-winning goals.


AP NHL playoffs: and

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox