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game preview

Wild at Predators preview

Duchene debuting for Nashville; Zuccarello playing first game with Minnesota

by Robby Stanley / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

WILD (0-0-0) at PREDATORS (0-0-0)

8 p.m. ET; NBCSN

 

The Game

Matt Duchene will debut for the Nashville Predators against the Minnesota Wild at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday.

The forward, who signed a seven-year, $56 million contract with the Predators on July 1, is expected to center a line with Filip Forsberg and Mikael Granlund and play on Nashville's first power-play unit.

Mats Zuccarello will play his first game for the Wild and likely skate to the right of Zach Parise and center Eric Staal. He signed a five-year, $30 million contract July 1.

 

Players to watch

Forward Ryan Hartman will debut for Minnesota and play against Nashville for the first time since he was traded from the Predators to the Philadelphia Flyers on Feb. 25.

Predators defenseman Dante Fabbro is expected to play alongside Mattias Ekholm on the second pair. He will fill the role of P.K. Subban, who Nashville traded to the New Jersey Devils on June 22.

 

They said it

"We just need to play in the offensive zone. I know from being on the other side how teams can struggle if they get caught up in the neutral zone and how the [Predators] play their neutral zone. The key for us is to break that trap and play offensively." -- Wild forward Ryan Hartman

"This is my first time playing on a new team on opening night, so it's a new experience. I've felt really comfortable through training camp and really comfortable through preseason. You'll have those natural butterflies that you have, but this will be my 11th year. It's kind of old hat now." -- Predators center Matt Duchene on opening-night jitters

 

Wild projected lineup

Zach Parise -- Eric Staal -- Mats Zuccarello

Jason Zucker -- Mikko Koivu -- Kevin Fiala

Ryan Donato -- Luke Kunin -- Jordan Greenway

Marcus Foligno -- Joel Eriksson Ek -- Ryan Hartman

Ryan Suter -- Matt Dumba

Jonas Brodin -- Jared Spurgeon

Nick Seeler -- Brad Hunt

Devan Dubnyk

Alex Stalock

Scratched: Victor Rask, Carson Soucy

Injured: Greg Pateryn (bilateral core)

 

Predators projected lineup

Craig Smith -- Ryan Johansen -- Viktor Arvidsson

Filip Forsberg -- Matt Duchene -- Mikael Granlund

Rocco Grimaldi -- Kyle Turris -- Calle Jarnkrok

Colton Sissons -- Nick Bonino -- Austin Watson

Roman Josi -- Ryan Ellis

Mattias Ekholm -- Dante Fabbro

Dan Hamhuis -- Yannick Weber

Pekka Rinne

Juuse Saros

Scratched: Daniel Carr, Matt Irwin

Injured: None

 

Status report

Each team held an optional morning skate. … Grimaldi wore a face shield after taking a puck to his face at practice Tuesday. He is expected to play.

 

Stat pack

The Wild are 1-6-1 in season openers as the road team. … The Predators are 11-8-1 on opening night and have won nine of their past 12 openers on home ice.

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