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Canucks vs. Predators Free NHL Pick – February 22nd

We enter the weekend with a stellar 16-7 record with our featured selections, and look for that hot streak to continue Friday night. Tonight’s match-up features two of the better teams in the Western Conference, with the Vancouver Canucks travelling to the Music City to take on the Nashville Predators. Both teams have been playing quite well of late, so it will be intriguing to see who comes out on top. Read below for our thoughts on the game.

Vancouver Canucks (-110) @ Nashville Predators (-110)

Though Vancouver enters tonight’s contest losers of 3 of their past 4 games, expect a rejuvenated effort from a hungry Canucks squad. Vancouver has a healthy rivalry with the Predators dating back to a playoff series from two years ago, and should have no trouble turning in a solid road performance on Friday evening. The Canucks have finally reached full health, and with this team at full-strength, they remain about as solid as any other squad in the NHL.

Conversely for the Predators, they endured some hardships in the off-season in losing key defenseman Ryan Suter, and haven’t been playing their patented style of defense thus far in 2013. The Preds have lost 2 of their past 3 contests, surrendering far too many goals in the process. If Nashville is going to keep their streak up of making the post-season, they’ll need to tighten up defensively. The only problem is, that won’t come easy against a Vancouver team that can simply light up the scoresheet.

Look for much-maligned goaltender Roberto Luongo to be between the pipes Friday night for the Canucks. Despite all the rumors that have circulated around Luongo, the Canadian goaltender has been absolutely stellar this season. Expect another great performance Friday evening against an offensively-challenged Nashville squad.

Paul Gaustad will be out for Nashville tonight, potentially magnifying the defensive issues of the Predators. Gaustad is a reliable face-off winner and key figure on the penalty kill. Without Gaustad, look for the depth of the Canucks attack to really test Nashville. Though this is a back-to-back situation for Vancouver, look for Luongo to stand on his head when he’s needed, and look for some timely scoring from Vancouver to grant them a key two points.

At a very reasonable pick’em price, consider Vancouver tonight. These teams are simply in different tiers, and look for a healthy Vancouver squad to start running away with the Northwest division. They’re loaded offensively, and play as well defensively as any team in the NHL. Look for the Preds to struggle to score, and have even more difficulty stifling Vancouver’s potent attack.

PICK = Vancouver (-110)