It’s official: Canucks to play Nashville in first round of playoffs

The Vancouver Canucks have found out their first round playoff opponent.

The Pacific Division champions will be facing off against the Nashville Predators when the playoffs start in the next few days.

The Dallas Stars 2-1 shootout victory today against the St. Louis Blues ensured that the Canucks will finish second place in the Western Conference. This locks them into a matchup with the Predators who cannot move from the top Wild Card spot.

The series is expected to start on Sunday according to the latest reports. No matter when the series starts, Game 1 will be the first playoff game at Rogers Arena since 2015.

“I’ve heard it gets pretty crazy, and I’m just excited to experience it myself,” said Brock Boeser earlier today about playing in front of the home crowd during the postseason.

The Canucks swept the three games these two teams played during the regular season, outscoring the Predators 13-6 across those contests. However the most recent of those games was played on December 19, well before the Predators hit their stride.

The Central Division team has been one of the NHL’s best since the All-Star break. From that date forward they rank third among all teams in points, fifth in goals for and seventh in goals against.

The Predators are led offensively by winger Filip Forsberg who scored 48 goals this season, the sixth most in the NHL as of today. They also have a Norris Trophy candidate and former winner in Roman Josi who scored better than a point-per-game this season.

Juuse Saros is the starting goaltender and while his stats this year have not been mind-boggling, he’s proven over the past few seasons he’s one of the NHL’s very best at the position.

The Canucks have put together one of the best seasons in franchise history. It’s only the third time they’ve hit the 50-win mark and nearly everything has gone right. They have a forward who is top-10 league-wide in points, the leading candidate to win the Norris Trophy, a star goalie, and that’s not including their soon-to-be highest-paid player.

Former Canucks winger Anthony Beauvillier will play against his old team as he’s now a member of the Predators. He was acquired by the Wild Card team in a midseason trade with the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Canucks play tomorrow but the result of that game will have no bearing on their final standings position. Head coach Rick Tocchet has the option to rest some players as his team prepares for the grueling playoff push.