March 3, 2019 vs Nashville Predators
It’s weird that as division rivals we have to look ahead to the month of March to find the first home game against the Nashville Predators. But that’s exactly how this season will go for the Wild and Preds.
The Predators will host the first game of the season series in October in Nashville, and then we will wait almost 5 whole months before these 2 teams will see each other again. A lot can change in 5 months, we could be watching a wild card battle or a divisional battle for first place in the Central.
The game on March 3rd is the first of 3 matchups between these 2 in March, and will likely be crucial to the final outcome of the Central division. If a team sweeps all 3 games these could be as much as a 12 point swing in one month.
The Wild went 3-1-1 in games against Nashville last season, losing both games in Nashville while winning all 3 games at Xcel Energy Center. Despite Nashville winning the Presidents’ Trophy as the best team in the NHL regular season, the Wild seemed to be able to keep pace with the Preds.
Viktor Arvidsson, Filip Forsberg, Roman Josi, P.K. Subban, and Ryan Johansen are all threats in any game. Pekka Rinne can shutdown any team on any given night. So the WIld need to be at their best again if we hope to take the season series this time around.
This game falls as a one-off home game between a couple short road trips, and will be extremely important as a refresher for the players before hitting the road again. The stay at home will likely be so short-lived it will feel like any other road game.
These can be some of the toughest game mentally, as you get home and get into the home atmosphere before jumping right back out to hostile territory again. If Minnesota wants to have positive results from following road trip, coach Boudreau will need to instill the right plan for his team during the short stop at home.
If the Wild can win these 5 games, or at least put out a solid effort against the top teams in the league, we could be extremely optimistic heading into the NHL post season. Losing all 5 of these games could see us on the outside looking in when the season ends. Either way, these games should be extremely fun to watch live, and are my recommendations on ones to watch this season.
Keep an eye next month as I give you another Top 5. In November, we’ll be breaking down the top draft picks in Wild History.