Game Preview: Minnesota Wild at Nashville Predators


Tonight the Minnesota Wild re-enter Nashville less than three weeks after beating the Predators in Bridgestone Arena on February 26th. At that time Nashville had only lost three games in regulation at home and were leading the league with 89 points.

Since their fall to the Wild, Nashville has gone 2-7-0, and has lost three straight at home. Nashville is also coming off of a back to back against the Kings and the Ducks, Saturday and Sunday respectively. The Wild are seeking a franchise record 8th consecutive road win. After Devan Dubnyk stole a game from the St. Louis Blues on Saturday, the Wild have had two days to reset and re-focus before heading back to Nashville. The Wild are an NHL best 11-2-1 on the road since Dubnyk’s debut on January 15th.

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According to the Wild currently have an 87.4% chance to make the playoffs. That site’s calculation predicts the magic number to secure a playoff spot is 99 points. That means if the Wild can somehow manage to secure 16 of the possible 26 remaining points they will make the playoffs regardless of how other teams perform. Of course these are just predictions, and teams could go on winning streaks like the Wild did much of the last three months.

Nate Prosser is out according to Mike Russo of the Star Tribune. Prosser took a nasty hip check on Saturday and is listed as week to week. With Prosser out, Christian Folin will draw back into the line up after being a healthy scratch since March 6th.

The Wild’s power play has once again been abysmal. During the Wild’s skate on Monday, Star Tribune’s Chris Miller reported the practice was focused heavily on the special teams. Hopefully a little extra practice time will help the Wild get back some scoring advantage when having the extra man. Chris Miller also reported that Matt Dumba was on the first power play unit and Thomas Vanek was moved to the second power play unit. Vanek has been frustrating for me to watch when the Wild’s power play goes to work and he seemingly throws or gives away pucks frequently. Nice to see the Wild’s coaching staff also see some benefit in taking him off of the top line. For more on the Wild’s power play re-build check out Alex’s article.

Without an injury we can expected the following for tonight’s Minnesota Wild forward lines:





Game tone:

Tonight could be another goalie duel as Pekka Rinne and Dubnyk are both worthy of being considered Vezina candidates. Rinne has struggled over the last nine games, however, he won his 200th Saturday game against the Kings and the Wild should not underestimate his ability. The Predators better hope he will find his form tonight, as they will likely have the first-game-back-after-a-long-road-trip syndrome and be visibly lacking in energy. The Wild on the other hand are coming off of a two day rest and are fired up as they roll in to Nashville. Here we go Wild fans, let’s start counting down those eight wins to secure a spot in the post-season.