WILD (24-18-5) at PREDATORS (19-20-7)
TV: FS-N, FS-TN
Last 10: Minnesota 4-6-0; Nashville 3-4-3
Season series: This is the third of five games between the Central Division rivals. The home team won the first two; the Nashville Predators beating the Minnesota Wild 3-2 on Oct. 8 at Bridgestone Arena, and Minnesota won 2-0 at Xcel Energy Center two weeks later.
Big story: Minnesota and Nashville are looking to rebound after losing at home Saturday night. The Wild were beaten 4-2 by the Colorado Avalanche while the Predators lost 2-1 in a shootout to the Ottawa Senators.
Wild: Minnesota can't waste any games before the Olympic break if it hopes to return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Wild hold the second of the Western Conference's two wild-card spots, but their lead is tenuous: Minnesota is two points ahead of the Phoenix Coyotes but the latter has three games in hand.
The loss to Colorado snapped a four-game winning streak that came on the heels of a six-game losing streak. The Wild must guard against another long losing streak.
"You always do," Wild coach Mike Yeo said Saturday. "We're short some bodies right now and we don't have time to feel sorry for ourselves."
Predators: Nashville is in a stretch in which it plays seven of eight games at home. The Predators are 1-1-1 after three games of a five-game homestand and have won once in their past six games overall. The problem continues to be offense. Only one team in the Western Conference has scored fewer than the Predators' 108 goals, and their minus-23 goal differential is third-worst in the conference. The good news is that despite losing five of six, the Predators have found a way to get at least a point in six of their past eight games.
"We've had some difficult stretches where we absolutely deserve to get those two points, but we haven't been able to do it," Predators coach Barry Trotz said Saturday. "We come and play hard every night, and that's something I think everybody in that room can hang their hat on. There's nothing to complain about."
Who's hot: Wild backup goaltender Darcy Kuemper, who's likely to get the start after Niklas Backstrom played Saturday, is coming off a 39-save performance in a 2-1 road win against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday. Charlie Coyle had both goals against Colorado; it was the first two-goal game of his career. … Shea Weber has five points in Nashville's last five games, including a pair of two-assist games during that stretch. His 10 goals are third on the team and his 19 assists are second, but his 29 points are a team-best.
Injury report: Wild forwards Zach Parise (fractured left foot) and Mikko Koivu (fractured ankle), defenseman Jared Spurgeon (foot) and goaltender Josh Harding (illness) are on injured reserve. … Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne (hip infection) is on injured reserve. Forward Patric Hornqvist has missed the past two games with a lower-body injury but will be re-evaluated prior to the game Sunday.
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