I may be the only NHL fan that doesn’t really care about the All-Star Game. To be fair, I don’t care about any other league’s all-star matchup either. I care about games that mean something in the W/L department, and this break couldn’t have come at a worse point for the Wild…we were just getting our feet back under us.
We start real hockey again on Tuesday when the Nashville Predators visit St. Paul. Coming off solid wins against Dallas and Colorado, it is CRUCIAL that the Wild keep the momentum going with a quick home victory.
Looking at past statistics, the odds are in our favor. The Wild are 6-4-0 in their last ten home bouts against the Preds, and haven’t dropped a home game to them since December 2010. This year the Wild are 1-0-1 against Nashville with a win in November and a shootout loss in December.
What can we expect for Tuesday? No Koivu, no Bouchard, no Latendresse (no surprises there). I’d be surprised if Kassian, Ortmeyer, and Rau aren’t recalled…at least two of the three. I’m predicting one of the Z’s will be scratched. It’s been Zidlicky, and since Zanon has started to do his job and block shots, Zids may stay in the doghouse for a bit longer.
Net, it’s a toss up. Both goalies seem to be shaking off the slump quite well right now. I personally would give the nod to Josh Harding and let Backstrom continue his domination of the Avs later in the week.
Enjoy the All-Star Game if you’re going to watch. It’s just not my thing. I’m glad Nick Johnson gets to participate in the skills contest, but without a Wild name on the bench, meh.