7:00 PM CT – Nashville Predators (5-2-3) @ Minnesota Wild (4-5-1)
TV: FS Tennessee
Radio: 102.5 The Game
Last time out:
NSH- The Predators pushed their winning streak to four games with a convincing 3-0 win over the defending champion Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night. Pekka Rinne stopped all 32 shots he faced, while Colin Wilson scored two goals. It was their first home win of the season.
MIN- Vancouver waltzed into Minnesota on Thursday and grabbed a 4-1 victory over the Wild – and it wasn’t really that close. The Canucks saw their lead expand to 4-0 by the end of the second period, chasing Niklas Backstrom in the process. It was Minnesota’s third consecutive loss to start the month.
Players to watch:
NSH- Colin Wilson
Wilson has been the Predators’ most dangerous threat this season. He has five points in the last two games, including a two-goal effort Thursday.
MIN- Ryan Suter
Tonight marks the second game where Suter faces his former team. In 10 games with the Wild, Suter has four points and a minus-7 rating.
Projected starting goaltenders:
NSH- Chris Mason (2012-13 stats: 1-0-0, 1.00 GAA)
MIN- Niklas Backstrom (2012-13 stats: 3-4-1, 2.76 GAA)
Projected lineups from last game/practice:
|Sergei Kostitsyn||Mike Fisher||Martin Erat|
|Gabriel Bourque||David Legwand||Colin Wilson|
|Craig Smith||Nick Spaling||Brandon Yip|
|Richard Clune||Paul Gaustad||Matt Halischuk|
|Scott Hannan||Shea Weber||Pekka Rinne|
|Roman Josi||Kevin Klein||Chris Mason|
|Hal Gill||Ryan Ellis|
|Zach Parise||Mikko Koivu||Charlie Coyle|
|Pierre-Marc Bouchard||Matt Cullen||Dany Heatley|
|Torrey Mitchell||Kyle Brodziak||Cal Clutterbuck|
|Mike Rupp||Zenon Konopka||Devin Setoguchi|
|Matt Kassian||Mikael Granlund|
|Ryan Suter||Jonas Brodin||Niklas Backstrom|
|Clayton Stoner||Tom Gilbert||Josh Harding|
|Marco Scandella||Justin Falk|
*Lineups are subject to change
NSH- Patric Hornqvist (knee, out)
MIN- Jared Spurgeon (foot, out)
Keys to the game:
NSH- Continue opportunistic ways… The Predators have been out-shot by a count of 66-33 in the last two games, yet have out-scored the opposition by a 9-1 margin. Crazy. At some point they will need to generate more shots, but they have been more active/effective in the offensive zone in the last two games compared to the first eight.
MIN- A fast start… In each of the last two games the Wild has fallen behind by scores of 2-0 and 4-0, which is something they can’t afford to do against a stingy Predators defense corps. The Wild also need a fast start to lift their spirits, as tension is mounting after scoring three goals combined in the last three games (all losses).
Numbers to know:
- Season series vs. Minnesota: 1-0 Predators
- 2011-12 season series: 3-1 Predators
- The Preds are 4-2-1 on the road this season … Minnesota is 4-2-0 at home.
- Though the Preds have won in 3 of their last 4 trips to Minnesota, they boast an all-time record of 8-10-(3)-2 at Xcel Energy Center.
- The Preds have never won both road games in Minnesota in a single season, something they will try to do tonight.
- Last season the Preds were 7-3-0 in the front end of back-to-backs, and are 0-0-1 this season. They will host Chicago tomorrow night.
- Chris Mason is 7-5-2 with a 3.04 GAA and .888 save percentage in 14 career games vs. Minnesota. His counterpart, Niklas Backstrom, is 7-5-1 with a 2.85 GAA and .905 save percentage in 13 career games vs. Nashville.
- Martin Erat has 27 points in 34 career games vs. Minnesota.
- Nick Spaling has 8 points in 9 career games vs. Minnesota.
- Power play: Nashville (18.8%, 17th) … Minnesota (16.2%, 22nd)
- Penalty kill: Nashville (81.6%, 13th) … Minnesota (82.9%, 11th)
On New Year’s Eve in 2010, the Predators snapped a five-game skid with a decisive 4-1 win in Minnesota. The win was the start of a six-game winning streak for the Preds…