Canucks-Predators Preview

It’s been only a week and Roberto Luongo is already trying to

regain his Olympic form that resulted in a gold medal.

Luongo should be in net Sunday afternoon in an effort to rebound

from one of his worst performances of the season when the Canucks

visit the Nashville Predators, who were also victimized by sloppy

play in their last game.

Luongo became a national hero by winning all five starts with a

1.76 goals-against average to spur Canada’s run to the gold medal

in Vancouver.

He carried that play back to the Canucks (39-23-2), making 28

saves in a 6-3 win at Detroit on Wednesday. However, Luongo

followed by giving up five goals as the Canucks committed several

costly defensive errors in a dismal opening period before

eventually falling 6-3 at Chicago on Friday.

One of the miscues came on a goal that trickled over the line

after deflecting off Luongo’s stick following a seemingly harmless

centering pass from the right boards.

“I don’t think we had a great period and I don’t think we were

ready to play,” said Luongo, who was pulled after the first.

“Unfortunately, I felt good. That’s the sad part. I felt ready. I

felt sharp. And the goals kept going in.

“I didn’t want to be in there for a dozen, so you might as well

take me out after the first.”

Luongo is 3-4-0 with a 3.70 GAA in starting eight of the

Canucks’ 11 games during this NHL-record stretch of 14 consecutive

road contests caused by the staging and clean up of the Olympics.

He’s been pulled three times in that span.

Luongo is 1-3-0 with a 2.78 GAA in his last four starts against

the Predators (35-24-5). He stopped 22 of 25 shots in a 4-2 loss

Dec. 8 in the most recent matchup in Nashville.

Canucks left wing Alex Burrows has scored a goal in each of the

three games since the Olympic break after managing one in the

previous seven. He leads Vancouver with a career-high 29 goals,

scoring twice in a 3-2 loss to the Predators on Jan. 11.

The Predators, seventh in the West, gave up the first four goals

in Friday’s 5-2 loss at Detroit, with one coming off a stunning

lapse by Kevin Klein.

The defenseman was stripped of the puck by Pavel Datsyuk in

front of the Nashville net before the Red Wings’ center beat Dan

Ellis with a backhander.

“We gave them two free goals,” coach Barry Trotz said of the

miscue by Klein and Detroit’s short-handed goal in the second

period. “The first goal and the fourth goal. Bad turnovers, bad


Nashville could use some increased production from Patric

Hornqvist, the team leader with a career-high 23 goals. The right

wing is on an eight-game goal drought after scoring 10 in the

previous 14.

He has two goals in four career games against Vancouver.