Wild vs. Predators: Kaapo Kahkonen expected to make first start of season

Minnesota Wild goalie Kaapo Kahkonen posted a 16-8 mark last year in his rookie season. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Minnesota Wild goalie Kaapo Kahkonen posted a 16-8 mark last year in his rookie season. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

151. Bally Sports North . 98. Wild -1.5. 5 p.m. CST. 1-4-0. Sunday, Oct. 24. 4-0-0

Minnesota Wild goalie Kaapo Kahkonen is expected to make his first start in net this season in a matchup against Central Division foe Nashville.

Kahkonen posted a 16-8-0 mark last season as the Wild’s No. 2 goalie and had a .902 saves percentage. His start comes after Cam Talbot started the first four games of the season.

The Wild will look to complete a successful three-game homestand before the team heads out to Vancouver on Tuesday for the first of three-straight road games that includes an inaugural matchup with the Seattle Kraken.

Minnesota beat Anaheim 4-3 in overtime on Saturday and  is off to its best start since the 2008-09 season and enters Sunday as one of six teams in the league without a loss in regulation or overtime. The group includes fellow Central Division opponent, St. Louis.

Series history

Minnesota leads the all-time series 34-33-11. That includes a 21-13-5 mark at the Xcel Energy Center, and the Wild are 5-1-1 in the last seven matchups at home.

It is the first matchup between the teams since March 3, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nashville won two of the three matchups in the 2019-20 season.

Defenseman Alex Goligoski, in his first season with the Wild, has 26 points in 36 career games against Nashville. Jared Spurgeon has three goals and 12 points in 33 games.

The quotes

“We know we’ve gotta eventually come out with a lead at some point but it is what it is. A win is a win no matter how you look at it.”

— Wild forward Ryan Hartman on the team rallying from a deficit to get a win in each of the four games so far this season.

“Somebody said that’s what we’re trying to do  — keep the fans interested and draw them in. Certainly we would like to do it a little bit earlier. Obviously we would like to start with a lead but we love our resilience. We weren’t good early but (the Ducks) were really good, real good.”

—Wild coach Dean Evason on Minnesota winning in overtime on Saturday afternoon for the second-straight game.

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Betting odds

The Wild vs. Predators betting odds on WynnBET has the Wild as a 1.5 favorite at home. Minnesota has -162 moneyline odds while Nashville is the underdog at +147. The total goals is set at an over/under of 5.5.

Upcoming Wild schedule

Tuesday, Oct. 26: @Vancouver, 9 p.m. CST

Thursday, Oct. 28: @Seattle, 9 p.m. CST

Saturday, Oct. 30: @Colorado, 8 p.m. CST