NASHVILLE – Center Ryan Johansen will make his home debut for the Nashville Predators against the Minnesota Wild at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; FS-TN, FS-N).
Johansen was traded from the Columbus Blue Jackets on Jan. 6 and was slotted on Nashville's top line on the ensuing four-game road trip.
"I'm very excited," Johansen said. "It's something I've been thinking about when you put your head on the pillow at night for the last week since I've been traded here. Playing here on a different team before, the atmosphere and the environment in the building is always fun to play in so I can't wait to be on the home side of it."
Johansen has made an immediate impact with the Predators (19-17-8), scoring two goals and adding four assists in four games. The Predators went 0-3-1 on the four-game road trip, but Johansen's line was productive. All three players on Johansen's line scored in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.
"On the ice, I feel like we took a step last game just as a line," Johansen said. "Obviously we've had new linemates every game so far, and with [Predators rookie forward Kevin Fiala] on my left side, he's a high-level, high-skilled [with] great hockey sense. I really enjoy playing with him, and we just want to have fun and go out there and play hockey. That's what we did in Winnipeg, and we had some success as a line."
Minnesota (22-14-8) lost 1-0 to Winnipeg on Friday and is looking to bounce back against Nashville. The Wild have lost four games in a row and begin a four-game road trip Saturday.
"It's pretty simple," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "You look at what we did poorly last night, what we didn't do well enough and we make sure we try to correct them. We put that one behind us, but we're not going to sit around here and feel sorry for ourselves. We've been here before, and we know how [Nashville] is going to come out and play so we better be ready."
Here are the projected lineups:
Zach Parise – Mikael Granlund – Jason Pominville
Jason Zucker – Mikko Koivu – Charlie Coyle
Thomas Vanek – Erik Haula – Nino Niederreiter
Chris Porter – Jarret Stoll – Justin Fontaine
Ryan Suter – Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin – Matt Dumba
Marco Scandella – Nate Prosser
Scratched: Niklas Backstrom, Mike Reilly
Injured: Ryan Carter (hand)
Kevin Fiala – Ryan Johansen – James Neal
Filip Forsberg – Mike Ribeiro – Calle Jarnkrok
Eric Nystrom – Mike Fisher – Craig Smith
Miikka Salomaki – Paul Gaustad – Cody Bass
Roman Josi – Shea Weber
Mattias Ekholm – Ryan Ellis
Anthony Bitetto – Barret Jackman
Scratched: Austin Watson, Petter Granberg
Injured: Gabriel Bourque (upper body), Colin Wilson (lower body)
Status report: Hutton will start in goal for the Predators.
Who's hot: Suter has three points in his past three games and is second on the Wild with 30 points. … Johansen has six points in four games with the Predators.