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Home 2012-13 Game Previews Morning Skate: Game 3 at Minnesota

Morning Skate: Game 3 at Minnesota

7:00 PM CT – Nashville Predators (0-0-2) @ Minnesota Wild (2-0-0)
TV: FS Tennessee
Radio: 102.5 The Game

Last time out:
NSH- The Predators dropped a 4-3 shootout decision at home to St. Louis Monday evening. For the second straight game, they failed to hold onto a one-goal lead in the final 30 minutes of the game.
MIN- Zach Parise’s first tally in a Minnesota uniform was all they needed Sunday night in a 1-0 victory over Dallas. Josh Harding notched an 18-save shutout in the Wild’s second straight win to open the season.

Players to watch:
NSH- Shea Weber
Weber won’t say it publicly, but one would assume he’ll play with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder facing Ryan Suter for the first time.
MIN- Dany Heatley
Heatley has always been a thorn in the Predators’ side, scoring 13 goals in 17 career games against them. He’s especially dangerous now with Zach Parise on his line.

Projected starting goaltenders:
NSH- Chris Mason (2011-12 stats: 8-7-1, 2.59 GAA)
MIN- Niklas Backstrom (2012-13 stats: 1-0-0, 2.01 GAA)

Projected depth charts:

Nashville Predators
Sergei Kostitsyn Mike Fisher Martin Erat
Colin Wilson David Legwand Patric Hornqvist
Craig Smith Nick Spaling Matt Halischuk
Gabriel Bourque Brandon Yip Brian McGrattan
Richard Clune  Paul Gaustad*
Defense Goalie
Roman Josi Shea Weber Chris Mason
Scott Hannan Kevin Klein Pekka Rinne
Hal Gill Ryan Ellis
Jonathon Blum
Minnesota Wild
Zach Parise Mikko Koivu Dany Heatley
Matt Cullen Mikael Granlund Devin Setoguchi
Cal Clutterbuck Kyle Brodziak Pierre-Marc Bouchard
Darroll Powe Zenon Konopka Torrey Mitchell
Matt Kassian
Defense Goalie
Ryan Suter Jared Spurgeon Niklas Backstrom
Clayton Stoner Tom Gilbert Josh Harding
Justin Falk Nate Prosser
Matt Dumba  *-Injured

Injury report:
NSH- Paul Gaustad (upper body, questionable)
MIN- Marco Scandella (groin, out)

Keys to the game:
NSH- Play a simple game… If the Predators try to run-and-gun tonight, they may not physically last the whole 60 minutes. In their first road game of the season, Barry Trotz’s club has to play a simple, smart game – limit mistakes and scoring chances, take the crowd out of it, win 1-on-1 battles, etc.
MIN- Get up early… This will be the third game in four nights for both teams, but the Wild had Monday off and the Predators did not. Plus, the Predators have been forced to play 65 minutes in each of the first two games, so tonight could be a struggle on the road. Mike Yeo’s club has to realize this and pounce early to put the Predators in a hole.

Numbers to know:
- 2011-12 season series vs. Minnesota: 3-1-0 Predators
- The Preds were 22-16-3 on the road last season … Minnesota was 20-17-4 at home.
- All-time in Minnesota, the Preds are 7-10-(3)-2. They have earned a split at Xcel Energy Center in each of the last four seasons.
- Chris Mason is 6-5-2 with a 3.20 GAA and .881 save percentage in 13 career games vs. Minnesota. His counterpart, Niklas Backstrom, is 7-4-1 with a 2.83 GAA and .907 save percentage in 12 career games vs. Nashville.
- Martin Erat has 26 points in 33 career games vs. Minnesota.
- 2011-12 special teams: Nashville (1st PP, 10th PK) … Minnesota (27th PP, 15th PK)
- The Preds were 5-6-0 on the back end of back-to-backs in 2011-12. They lost in a shootout to St. Louis last night.

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